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Warning: Ukraine Is At A Flashpoint

The stability between Russia & the West is failing
Sunday, May 4, 2014, 1:16 AM

Regrettably, I am very close to issuing an official Alert over the situation in Ukraine as it has continued to both escalate and deteriorate.

More than 50 people died in violence on Friday, May 2, in Odessa and other eastern cities in Ukraine. Relations between Russia and the US are finding new lows while China and Russia grow closer. 

For those living in Europe who are exposed to the possible fallout that would result from the loss of supplies of Russian energy, the time to begin preparing is right now. As we say often on this site, you’d much rather be a year early than a day late in your preparations.

The situation involving the tug of war between the West and Russia regarding Ukraine has steadily worsened over time and now involves outright economic warfare. Certainly, if Russia had levied sanctions on American and European individuals and companies similar to those levied by the West on Russian targets, we can only imagine the howls of protest the West would make over such obvious 'provocations' and 'acts of war'.

For an already weakened western and Japanese financial system that is still heavily leveraged, the risks are very high for financial blowback by Russian - and possibly Chinese - agencies. Imagine a possible energy war, where Russia basically cuts off gas for Europe (that could spill over more broadly if things go badly). Or even more worrisome, a shooting war between the East and the West.

One significant risk in this story is that the die-hard 'military first' neocons who control US foreign policy have not encountered a real foe in a very long time. They appear to be under-appreciating what a real adversary like Russia could do if (when) push comes to shove.

These policy hawks only know how to push harder when things don’t immediately go their way and, based on previous ridiculous notions they've held such as the idea that the Coalition of the Willing would be met with flowers in Baghdad, they are  delusional.

The list of US military involvements is long, but not very impressive when considering the strength of the adversaries (dates mark start of conflict):

  • Grenada - 1983
  • Libya - 1986
  • Panama - 1990
  • Gulf war - 1991
  • Somalia - 1992
  • Bosnia - 1993
  • Haiti - 1994
  • Kosovo 1998
  • Afghanistan - 2001
  • Liberia 2003
  • Iraq - 2003
  • North-West Pakistan - 2004
  • Yemen - 2010
  • Libya - 2011

Of course, those are just the wars we know about. 

You might notice that Iran is not (yet) on that list; but recall that the US had a spy drone shot down over Iran recently, as well as managed to insert several nasty computer viruses into Iranian industrial and governmental targets, and led the issuance of full blown country-wide economic sanctions on Iran.

Further, the US has been deeply involved in supporting the insurgents in Syria (and certainly many other places) and has recently provided those Jihadists with sophisticated and portable anti-aircraft missiles and TOW anti-tank rockets.

Warfare is now conducted on multiple fronts; one being via the usual information and propaganda channels, another being in the electronic space, a third being economic, and the final one being military. Each of them are effective and damaging in their own ways.

Warfare is what you resort to when diplomacy fails, or at least that used to be the saying. Now it seems that warfare is the preferred means of 'diplomacy' for the US and I suppose there's a certain rationale for that when your potential adversaries are small and easily over-powered.

Which is absolutely *not* the case with Russia; but before we get to that, we need some additional context.

Ukraine and NATO

The basic outline of the Ukrainian situation is not all that hard to follow: the US and Europe have been working hard for years to convince Ukraine to join the EU both economically and militarily via inclusion in the NATO structure.

Since the dissolution of the former USSR, the US has funneled some $5 billion into Ukraine to assure that it favors the West with these goals in mind.

Although $5 billion sounds like a lot, when it comes to advancing US interests abroad, it's practically pocket change.

After 15 years of wooing, the US thought it had things pretty well locked up and everything appeared to be going according to plan as recently as early November 2013.  Our man in charge over there was Victor Yanukovych and he seemed to be playing ball with the West.

But everything fell apart for (the now deposed) Yanukovych -- and Ukraine at large -- in early November 2013 when he balked at what everyone thought was going to be a signing ceremony, although very few in the public knew it at the time.  This editorial is from November 2013:

In a controversial move, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign the country’s anticipated Association Agreement with the European Union at a summit this week in Vilnius, Lithuania. This pact would have advanced a comprehensive framework for relations between the former Soviet republic and Western Europe. In the aftermath of Yanukovych’s regrettable decision, the United States and the European Union must reaffirm efforts to help Ukraine improve its governance, strengthen its economy and deepen ties with the West.

Over the long term, Ukraine would enjoy overwhelming economic and political benefits by signing the E.U. deal. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, if Kiev concludes the Associate Agreement, “it will be able to export its goods” to the European Union, “the largest single market in the world, tariff-free, by early 2014.”

At that same hearing, the Peterson Institute’s Anders Åslund said that the pact – which also includes a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement – could add as much as 12 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and boost its exports by 46 percent. The Association Agreement would also intensify efforts by the European Union and its member states to provide technical assistance to improve good governance and combat corruption in Ukraine.

Russia, however, has successfully used political and economic leverage to dissuade Ukraine from signing the E.U. deal. In the months prior to the Vilnius summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a trade war with Kiev, blocking nearly all imports from Ukraine and cutting energy supplies to the country. In turn, this reduced Ukrainian exports by 25 percent and shrank the economy by 1.5 percent. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Ukrainian officials say the Russian sanctions cost them $15 billion in lost trade and could run up to half a trillion by signing the E.U. deal.”

What’s more, Åslund recently warned, “The Kremlin has publicly threatened to drive Ukraine into default,” adding: “Once again, as in January 2006 and January 2009, the notoriously unreliable Russian state-dominated gas company Gazprom may cut its supplies to Ukraine.”

(Source)

The basic theme here is that Ukraine was caught in a tug of war. On the one side you had the EU offering plenty of economic carrots, but virtually no tangible assistance besides "Hey, we'll buy a lot of stuff from you…we promise!" while Russia was supplying Ukraine with lots of tangible assistance in the form of heavily-subsidized natural gas. Moreover, Russia was owed a huge amount of money in back payment for natural gas already shipped to and used by Ukraine.

The spurned West was outraged by that last minute scuttling of the Association Agreement by Yanukovych. Almost immediately, it began working on supporting his opposition and eventual replacement. By failing to sign that agreement, Yanukoyvych had sealed his eventual ouster and indeed he was gone within months.

Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum, and the above article does little to help us understand why Russia was messing with the plans of the Western meddlers.  There’s a lot of missing context in that article, as there seems to be in nearly every article I’ve read from western sources. So, we must dig a bit deeper.

NATO – The Missing Context 

The essential and missing context concerns the fact that, back in the early 1990's when Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to the reunification of Germany, he got an explicit agreement from then US Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would "not move one inch to the East".

Without ever renegotiating that agreement, NATO (quelle surprise!) proceeded to move into a dozen countries to the East over the following years. When it started making the move on the final piece of the chessboard -- the Ukraine -- Russia, understandably and for a number of reasons, was not too keen on that.

We might consider Ukraine the final straw for a very patient Russia that did not resist as NATO steadily advanced East many millions of inches. Here's a recent map of NATO membership:

On March 12 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO. 

Then, on March 20 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia all joined. 

And finally on April 1 2009 Albania and Croatia joined.

Now the really interesting part of this story is that the original reason NATO was founded for was to counteract the combined strength of the former Soviet Union.  Note that several of the recent NATO members are former members of the Warsaw Pact, which was the USSR's equivalent of NATO.

So if NATO represents no threat to the East, as the feckless western press regularly implies, then why all the military advancement towards the East?  Why have NATO at all in these post-Soviet days?

An easy answer that makes sense here is that the West, indeed,  still considers the East a threat and is doing what it can to assert its dominance to prevent that threat from materializing. It’s just a big power game. The unfolding events have about as much to do with advancing democracy as Donald Trump’s hairpiece has to do with advancing good taste.

After so much prior success in steadily advancing NATO eastwards, the EU and the US thought they could just roll up Ukraine, too. But their efforts were stymied by Putin and the West has not responded to that 'provocation' very well. Which brings us to the present.

Diplomacy By Other Means

Apparently, instead of trying to resolve the situation through normal diplomatic channels, the US decided that the best path forward was to get rid of Yanukovych by any means necessary and get someone (anyone!) else installed who might be more compliant to US wishes.

There's plenty of supporting evidence to make the claim that much of the recent political and social turmoil in Ukraine was due to US involvement (although that should be the first assumption of anybody who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the conduct of US foreign policy over the past decades).

Okay, so here’s the plot so far.  The President of Ukraine, the not terribly likeable and corrupt Yanukovych, balked at the EU Association Agreement in November 2013.  After booking a hasty plane ticket, US Senator John McCain landed in Kiev soon after in December, meeting with the various players that might reasonably depose the President.

(Source

That’s what happens when you disappoint the US. You can expect them to come after your job even if you happen to be the President of a country of 45 million people with a territory the size of France.

Please note that even as McCain was shaking hands with the next leader of Ukraine, Yanukovych was still the properly elected and sitting President, and would be for several more months.

We next draw your attention to the recording of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaking with US Ukrainian ambassador Pyatt leaked in February of 2013. Almost certainly, it was Russia that recorded and leaked this conversation -- as it was (and still is) mightily embarrassing to prior US claims that it was simply a detached observer with an interest in Democracy.

Instead, what the transcript clearly shows is that the US was actively plotting to work with various and specific opposition leaders before the then-sitting President had been removed from office. According to my dictionary, this is the definition of a coup d’état.

Here’s a portion of that transcript:

Pyatt: I think we're in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you've seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we're trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff.  (…)

Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I'm just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I'm sure that's part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Nuland:  I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in... he's going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it's just not going to work.

(Source - BBC)

What’s being discussed here is an assessment of which of the several possible replacements for Yanukovych might be in the US’ best interests. The person selected, “Yats”, was indeed the eventual replacement, and he did indeed get a coveted visit from the Vice President of the US, Joseph Biden, as promised, with a later meeting at the White House.

However, you should know that Yatseniuk is a member of the Fatherland Party, of which Yulia Tymochencko (she of the famous and iconic hair braids) is a member. Tymochencko is most recently (in)famous for saying that the ~8 million Russian speaking citizens in her country should be ‘nuked’. She pretty much has generally called for wiping out all Russians and Russian speaking people from the Ukraine.

An even worse character is the other figure in this dialog, Oleh Tyahnybok. He's the leader of the Svoboda party, which is a not-very-nice group of ultranationalists with inclinations towards xenophobia, anti-semitism and fascism.

Here’s some relevant information on the Svoboda party, which has 36 out of 450 seats in Parliament.

The leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, who has appeared at the Kiev protests, has a long history of making inflammatory anti-Semitic statements, including the accusation during a 2004 speech before parliament that Ukraine is controlled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” Miroshnychenko also called the Ukrainian-born American film actress Mila Kunis a “dirty Jewess.”

Tyahnybok has also claimed that “organized Jewry” dominate Ukrainian media and government, have enriched themselves through criminal activities and plan to engineer a “genocide” upon the Christian Ukrainian population. Another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser.

(Source)

Goodness gracious.  These are the sorts of people that the US has decided to support after Yanukovych disappointed its efforts at corralling Ukraine?

One of Russia’s chief complaints all along, besides the obvious transgression of the NATO agreement, has been that the Ukraine has a bad history when fascist elements get in charge. Russia, understandably, believes it has a strong and compelling interest in seeing that such groups do not take power on its western border.

We might reasonably imagine that if, say, a group of people in Mexico or Canada with a long history of inciting hatred and violence against Americans were seeking to take over the country, the US would have a compelling interest in preventing their success.

In managing the PR for this power transition within Ukraine, we see a concerted attempt to win over public opinion by hidden power players masquerading as grassroots activists, on fine display in this excellent video that went viral:  

(Source)

Having been viewed more than 8 million times, this video can be called effective at getting its message across.

However, if we look at who put that video up, we see the name Whisper Roar at the bottom. When we track that down, we find that it's an organization putting out very professional video and movie assets that happen to tell just one side of the Ukraine story. 

This video, then, was not produced by a young Ukrainian woman by herself – she had very professional and deep pocketed help from western interests and governments.

Whisper to Roar is staffed at least in part by US NGO personnel, and is very closely aligned with Yulia Tymoshenko of the Fatherland Party, the very same one that the US now backs in Ukraine.  Here's a group photo of the key Whisper to Roar staff taken form their website:

(Source)

The woman with the braids is none other than Yulia Tymoshenko, who apparently thinks Russian speaking Ukrainians should be nuked. Perhaps that explains why so many wish to rejoin Russia..

And do you see that guy in the middle marked by the red arrow?  That’s Larry Diamond, described as the executive producer and inspiration for the project.  And who’s he? A big player in the world of advanced statecraft with an interesting background: 

During 2002–3, Diamond served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

(Source)

I pulled the above bio from the website of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) where Mr. Diamond now works, at least part of the time.  He seems to be a busy guy, so I assume he has other roles at other organizations, too.  For the record, anybody involved with the Coalitional Authority in Baghdad is automatically on my personal probation list because I consider the entire Iraqi adventure to have been illegal at the start and deeply corrupt throughout.

To have been a part of all that means he was on the inside of a very illegitimate episode in history.

The NED is an NGO fully funded by the US government with the intention of ‘spreading democracy’ around the world. In this case, though, it looks like they spent their money producing and spreading a very effective piece of propaganda rather than advancing the intellectual case for why a US-style democracy (whatever that means in today’s oligarchical and very un-democratic US framework) would be in the best interests of the Ukrainian people.

The NED has long been a supporting player in the role of bringing Ukraine into the EU and NATO fold. It has funded numerous meetings and writing meant to further that exact agenda (as pulled from their own website).

At any rate, that viral video supposedly telling the tale of a passionate, pretty Ukrainian woman is actually a professionally-produced piece made by people with deep ties to both the US government and the specific parties in the Ukraine that the US just happens to be backing.

In other words: propaganda.  Which is fine, I suppose, as long as you are not trying to also claim that it is only Russia being the provocateur in this story, as the US still maintains.  Or tries to.

What Comes Next?

Okay, so that was a long tour through just some of the antics surrounding the US’ involvement in bringing about change (you can believe in!(TM)) in the Ukraine, and it’s by no means complete.  I raise these items to counter the usual clutter and complete lack of context being provided in the US press and to illustrate that the US is already in pretty deep and therefore unlikely to back down now.

Before we move on, do you not find it at all strange that the US media, usually extremely sensitive to anti-semitism, has given the McCain and Nuland support of the Svoboda party a complete pass? I find it to be like the case of "the dog that did not bark", meaning the silence reveals a very fickle moral compass at the heart of the western press.

The demonization of Putin as the bad guy here is near complete in western media. But there’s plenty of mischief all around and, as usual, the US finds itself with some pretty strange bedfellows as it seeks an outcome it likes.

In Part 2: How This Situation Can Quickly Get Much Worse, we look at the severe retaliatory damage an angry Russia can inflict on Western interests and lives -- and that's before considering the military angle. The West has already initiated economic sanctions with Russia; and so Russia is eyeing using its vast energy resources -- which Europe is very dependent on -- as a club to swing back in return. Both of these are forms of warfare, which increasingly risk pushing us over the slippery -- and terrifying -- slope towards outright military conflict.

Click here to access Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

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48 Comments

Montana Native's picture
Montana Native
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2009
Posts: 160
Victoria Nuland article

Interesting article on Nuland and her neocon ties. This is produced by a Russian media outlet, but there is plenty of verifiable and relevant info within.

http://m.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/12/18/meet-neocon-doughnut-doll...

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2012
Posts: 451
Thanks Chris

for a very well put together and comprehensive report.

HughK's picture
HughK
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 6 2012
Posts: 758
Ukrainian survey offer

Hi all,

I have sixteen Ukrainian students at my school.  My Comparative Government class and I are going to survey them in order to get their opinion concerning some of the questions around the Ukraine conflagration.  These are the questions that we will ask as of now.  I can also share the results with Peak Prosperity, as all answers will be totally anonymous.

If anyone has any suggestions for how I can change these questions to make them more meaningful, I'd be grateful for your suggestions.  Also, if anyone has another question they would like me to ask, please let me know.  This population of 16 high school students is small and only partially mature population, and also from the richest .1% of Ukrainians (aside from some scholarship students).  In spite of not being representative of the Ukrainian population as a whole, there seems to be some benefit in hearing from actual Ukrainians about this issue.

They will receive this survey in a web-based form, somewhat similar to the survey recently given by Dan Ariely.

Ukraine conflict survey

Dear Ukrainian students

This is a survey to help the Comparative Government class better understand what the Ukrainians at our school think about the current conflict in Ukraine.  If you would be willing to answer the following questions, we would be grateful.  

The survey is anonymous.  No one will be able to see your email address when you answer this.  We will share the results with you after the survey is over, and we might also share the results with a discussion group in which Mr. K participates. No one, including Mr. K, will know how you answered.  We will just look at the results in total.

1.  What is your mother tongue - the language that you speak at home with your family?

2.  What is the mother tongue used by the majority of people in your city or oblast?

3.  Do you believe that the Maidan protests were mainly caused by the United States or the European Union, or do you believe that it was mainly Ukrainian people who just wanted to change the government? (Multiple choice: Mainly caused by US/EU,  Mainly Ukrainian people who wanted a change, There is no simple answer to this question)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

4.  Do you believe that it was OK for Russia to annex Crimea? (Multiple choice: Yes, No, there is no simple answer to this question)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

5.  Do you believe that the separatist groups in Donetsk, Lugansk, and other Eastern Ukrainian cities are being supported by Putin?  (Multiple choice: Yes, No, there is no simple answer to this question)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

6.  Who is more responsible for the conflict in Ukraine? (Multiple choice: Yanukovitch, Turchynov & Yatsenyuk, Obama and the US, Putin and Russia, None of the above)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

7.  Do you wish Ukraine to be totally independent of all foreign powers, or closer to the EU and US, or closer to Russia?  (Multiple choice: Totally independent, Closer to the EU/US, Closer to Russia, None of the above)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

 
I'm open to any feedback, so please let me know how I can improve this.
Cheers,
Hugh
jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 238
Another question.

Hugh:  I would be interested in knowing if any of your students want, or believe it would be a good thing, for their home city or region to become part of the Russian Federation.

This may be too politically sensitive to request from high school students.  I do not want anyone to get in trouble at home.  However, it would be interesting to hear their responses.

Just a thought.

JT

HughK's picture
HughK
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 6 2012
Posts: 758
Added, JT.

jtwalsh wrote:

Hugh:  I would be interested in knowing if any of your students want, or believe it would be a good thing, for their home city or region to become part of the Russian Federation.

This may be too politically sensitive to request from high school students.  I do not want anyone to get in trouble at home.  However, it would be interesting to hear their responses.

Just a thought.

JT

Sounds good, JT.  I will add the question like this:

8.  Do you believe that your city or oblast would be better off as part of the Russian Federation?

(Multiple choice: Yes, No, there is no simple answer to this question)

If you would like to explain your answer, you can do so here:  

Their answers will be totally anonymous.  I won't be able to see their usernames, their IP address, or any other user data in the form results.  The survey system we use here will automatically tell the users if their data is being recorded by the survey.  I will use the option that does not collect user data.  One disadvantage of this is that a savvy student could fill out the form multiple times, but I'd rather err on the side of privacy.
 
Cheers,
Hugh
kaimu's picture
kaimu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2013
Posts: 114
SAME BOSS SYNDROME

Aloha! After committing huge sums of "debt", because the US Treasury will burn up all its net tax revenues for FY2014 on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse line items, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Defense Vendors, what will be left over when the air clears? More countries and citizens in ruin economically, financially and physically is the answer. War, although it looks great on GDP thanks to crony econ it ends up being more like a Katrina, whereby a lot of the destruction is never rebuilt and displaced lives are permanently altered.

Ask a West German who celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall one day only to wake up the next day and find an East German state of economic collapse and corruption in their laps. Germans have the discipline and where-with-all to turn around destroyed economies as they have proven throughout history, but the Russians don't and now it seems the American's can't even turn around the economy of one city ... Detroit, not to mention the next teetering major US city looking at BK ... Chicago! There are enough Russians in Detroit and Chicago to qualify so maybe we should send those cities over to Putin too!

Putin is fighting for the Crimea. Sure it's his military base on the Black Sea, kind of like Hawaii is to the USA, very strategic, but the rest of the Ukraine is a quagmire of debt, corruption and misguided economic slavery. If I recall the Iron Curtain came down because Russia could no longer afford the huge debt to support the Eastern Bloc. Once again "debt" and corruption kills off economies and Empires!

War boosts GDP ... Maybe instead of flying all the way over to Europe to boost GDP by dropping bombs we should petition our government to bomb Detroit and Chicago and then there would be a lot of jobs created to rebuild those cities. Reminds me of this Milton Friedman solution ...

At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

More corrupt government is the right solution if you want the youth of America to die off on foreign soil in a game of "Planned Chaos", but the outcome of war has never had any great benefit to the masses who fought and died whereby the survivors were resigned to refugee status forever. The elite monetary structure needs to be reversed and disposed of. A monetary system that allows for unending warfare via unending debt is not a monetary system worth living under. Where are the brakes? No wars can be conducted without "money"! IT'S THE MONEY STUPID!

Jim H's picture
Jim H
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2009
Posts: 2173
Well said Kaimu

The elite monetary structure needs to be reversed and disposed of. A monetary system that allows for unending warfare via unending debt is not a monetary system worth living under. Where are the brakes? No wars can be conducted without "money"! IT'S THE MONEY STUPID!

And it's not just the wars.. it's the ability to borrow ahead all of the world's resources in an orgy of consumption today.  It's the way our money system motivates short term thinking (in pursuit of that next step in EPS growth for instance)  in place of long term sustainability.   It's the ability to nationalize all of the miss-doings of the bankers under the guise of, "saving" the system.  It's the ability to buy off our elected government.  It's the ability to buy off a large slice of the populace with unfunded socialism. Infinitely fungible debt-based fiat is the fulcrum on which all these ills pivot.

I don't agree with everything Hugo Salinas Price writes about money, especially when it comes to Bitcoin, which I think he misunderstands... but I view him as a fellow monetary philosopher and I think he is one of our most incisive observers when it comes to the dangers of unbacked fiat;

  http://www.plata.com.mx/mplata/articulos/articlesFilt.asp?offset=20&fiid...

.....It is suspicious that all knowledge relating to real money and Austrian economics is carefully excluded, all over the world, from consideration in Academia, from the deliberations of Legislative bodies, from the pages of journals, from the TV screen and from the productions of the film industry. It appears that humanity is being subjected to a planned operation to erase from all human consciousness the memory of real money and of the economic principles that lead to prosperity. Of course the Élite know full well that “gold is money, all else is credit”: J. P. Morgan himself said so.

Who are the world’s Élite? They are an amorphous number of individuals from around the world. They are the people who have influence and the power to affect the operations of leading institutions. They are the people who are invited to Bilderberg meetings, to World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland. They are the people of the Trilateral Commission, the members of the CFR. They compose the Brotherhood of Central Bankers around the world. They head the great world-spanning corporations. Typically, the Élite are the world’s top bankers and politicians. What they have in common is the desire to perpetuate their wealth, influence and power, which means that they quite naturally agree (without even having to acknowledge their agreement) to bar any discussion of questions of the greatest transcendence, because the greater the transcendence, the greater the number of the Élite who would be adversely affected by any change. It would be quite improper, for instance, to bring up the subject of a return to the Gold Standard at any meeting of the Élite. This explains why no journalist under the influence of the Élite, publishing his articles in The Wall Street Journal or in the Financial Times, may include in his analysis of the present financial breakdown of the world any mention of the central cause of that breakdown: fiat money.

The only money that is considered in the Media, accredited institutions of learning and all other institutions of any weight across the world is fiat money – imaginary money. Fiat money is to be considered as the only possible money and the best of all possible moneys: gold and silver are trashed as antiquated and failed currencies. In some circles, the idea that money should be gold or silver, or both, is regarded as ridiculous if not scandalous.

The other side of the control over access to Knowledge exercised by the Élite through the centuries is the deliberate spreading of falsehoods, fictions, fairy-tales or memes which serve to consolidate the rule of the Élite. Examples too numerous to mention abound: 9-11 is but one example.

Palloy's picture
Palloy
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 2 2014
Posts: 1
What about the oligarchs?

We all know the Ukrainian oligarchs are hugely wealthy, and all Ukrainian governments have been hand-in-glove with them, so it stands to reason that they are being very influential now, when the governance is particularly weak. We also know they are completely absent from the media, both east and west. So who are they and what might they be up to?

This excerpt from the transcript of a lecture by the Russian academic Fursov gives a glimpse of the major unseen players. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.

======

The Ukrainian oligarchs

Firstly - the Ukrainian business clans.

In 2012 analysts such as Matveev warned that there would be a very brutal conflict in 2013 between the business clans, between the oligarchs. And that's what happened.

What do we mean by clans in Ukraine? First we need to understand the division of power at the end of 2013. There are four basic clans.

Firstly the Donetsk clan - Rinat Akhmetov, whose fortune is estimated at $16 billion. His main interests are mining and steel production. This clan includes Boris Kolesnikov, the Kluevs, Yury Ivanyuschenko.

The second clan is the Yanukovych family. They control principally the customs officials, farming and infrastructure. By comparison this clan is a bit poorer, but they have held very powerful administrative positions. Yanukovych's "achievement" is that during his presidency the welfare state of Ukraine was finished off. Or rather, what was left of it. Destruction of the welfare state began during the time of Kuchma. Yuschenko and Tymoshenko significantly reduced the welfare state. And Yanukovych finished it off.

It's very interesting to examine the growth of the billionaire class. In 2010 the number of billionaires in Ukraine was 8. By only 2011 there were 21.

The Yanukovych regime greatly favored the growth of the billionaire class. Yanukovych's main sponsors were Rinat Akhmetov and Dmitry Firtash. The division of labor was: Ahkmetov controlled the government and Firtash the presidential administration.

The next massive bloc is Firtash, which is RosUkrEnergo, energy production and chemicals. They are the main partner of Rothschild in Ukraine. One of Firtash's main advisers is Robert Shetler-Jones. I'll talk about him later. An entrepreneur from the Rothschild group. Moreover, he's from MI6.

By the way, in all British corporations, in order to occupy a senior position, it is mandatory to be vetted by MI6. Otherwise you don't get it.

The next corporate group is Privat. This is the most interesting one. It's the group of Ihor Kolomoisky. Kolomoisky's worth is 3 billion dollars. His partner is Gennady Bogolubov. Kolomoisky is a very interesting figure. Not only because he called our president a schizophrenic. He is the engine behind what is currently happening in Ukraine.

Born in 1963. Jewish. He very actively supports the Hasidic group Chabad, which is not a sect, it's a movement. He's the main sponsor of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community. An old friend of Berezovsky. He owns about 200 companies, controls 40% of Ukrnafta, the media. A big fan of soccer. He owns: FC Dnipro, of Dnepropetrovsk, Arsenal Kyiv, and Hapoel of Tel-Aviv. He's the vice president of the Football Federation of Ukraine. Its president, Surkis, is a millionaire too, albeit not as big as Kolomoisky. He owns Dynamo Kyiv. Information frequently appears in the media about Kolomoisky's connections with international organized crime. He really wanted to buy up the assets of Sevastopol. Indeed he was on the verge of buying. He is the sponsor of Yuschenko, Tymoshenko and Klitschko, and of, paradoxical though it is, the ultra-nationalist Tyaghnibok.

It might seem strange that Kolomoisky the Jew would support Tyaghnibok the ultra-nationalist. But the main goal of Tyaghnibok is to get Ukrainians and Russians fighting each other. His ultra-nationalism is not anti-semitic.

Then there's another group in Ukraine, which no-one wants to talk about. Victor Pinchuk's group. He's the son-in-law of Kuchma. Pinchuk's people are Tigipko and Yatsenuk. According to experts such as Matveev, whom I mentioned and strongly recommend you look up, because of his enormous expertise, Pinchuk is very closely linked with the United States and with British intelligence, MI6.

Finally, one more part of the Ukrainian economy, which experts prefer not to write about. Arms trade, military technology and narcotics. Experts name dozens of names here. The main ones are: Vadim Rabinovitch, citizen of Israel, Ukraine and Hungary, Sergei Maximov and the Derkatch family. The elder Derkatch is Leonid Derkatch. He was the head of the Ukrainian security service, SBU. Now he holds all the cards, as he's dealing in weapons. Rabinovitch is a very interesting figure. He supports the gay-lesbian party Raduga and the Kiev feminist group Femen. Often quarrels with other Jewish oligarchs.

In general what characterizes the situation in Ukraine is that there isn't a single political center, This propagates into Ukraine's Jewish community too. They don't have a unified center either. There are constant squabbles, to impose their point of view. There are angry clashes between the secular part and those who support the Hasids and Chabadists. For example, there was a very angry conflict over the construction of the memorial at Babi Yar. Kolomoisky insisted there be a synagogue and an iconic building. Vitaly Nakhmanovitch said no, the place should be absolutely secular. There are very severe clashes.

For example, In 2011 Kolomoisky established the European Jewish Parliament, which sits in the European Parliament. It has a leaning toward Hadism and Chabad. The secular group is, for example, Vyacheslav Kantor. They haven't accepted all of this. There is an on-going angry clash. There are humorous situations. For example, Kolomoisky supports Chabad. Chabad supported Yanukovych during the election. Kolomoisky has openly come out against Yanukovych. This whole tangle of clashes has flared up. In 2013 it got very nasty. Moreover, the greed and stupidity of Yanukovych's mafioso clan revealed itself when they imposed their fees not only on the medium-sized businesses, they even went into the small businesses. Basically, they had to pay 60% to this family.

So you can understand those who went to the Maidan. They had had enough of that clan.

A different matter is who exploited the situation. Marx and Engels wrote in 1848 about revolutions: We now know what role stupidity plays in revolutions, and how scumbags will exploit it. So that was the Ukrainian oligarchs.

Rockefellers Rothchilds and Intelligence agencies

The next players on the Ukrainian field are: the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds. The Rothchilds entered Ukraine immediately after Ukraine became free from the Soviet Union. The Rothschild group entered in 1991-95. Likewise MI6 entered with a free hand.

Basically all western intelligence agencies had a free hand in Ukraine. That's why some experts call Ukraine the sandpit of the intelligence agencies. The CIA has a whole floor dedicated to Ukraine. We got this information now. But those who worked under cover in Ukraine in the late '90s were already reporting that SBU is a subsidiary of the FBI and the CIA, who were actively working there. Likewise the BND (German intelligence) were very actively working with their Banderite underground. And MI6 was working more unnoticed.

I'm not even going to mention the Israeli agents. I'll come to that later. Basically they all had a completely free hand. Firtash soon became the main partner of the Rothchilds. His partner from the Rothchilds was Robert Shetler-Jones. He is considered by experts to be the instigator of the gas wars between Ukraine and Russia. He was the one getting Ukraine and Russia to fight over gas. Notice the Rothschild group is at work in the East of Ukraine. That's the area they want to get their hands on, in particular the Dnepropetrovsk region, where the bank "Rothschild Europe" and their "Royal Dutch Shell" are operating.

The interests of the Rothschilds strongly clash with the interests of Russia. Remember that when we talk about the interests of the USA and of Britain, there are different interest groups in these countries. Not for nothing the great French geopolitical analyst Alexandre Del Valle talks about not the foreign policy of the US, but the foreign politicians of the US. There are different clans. The clans behind Obama want one thing, and the clans behind the neo-cons want something completely different. So they really have different foreign policies. The Rothchilds busily exploit crises and chaos which can be manipulated by the world players in order to buy up assets in Ukraine, likewise in Central Asia, and where possible in Russia. It's about gaining control of resource economies. That's a very important aspect.

The Rockefellers have more modest interests. For example, Chevron Corporation, which is in the Rockefeller empire. The Ivano-Frankivsk region was basically handed to them by Yanukovych. It's hard to even say whether Ivano-Frankivsk belongs to Ukraine or belongs to Chevron Corporation. The Rockefellers are more interested in Western Ukraine than Eastern.

Israeli interests in Ukraine

The next player in Ukraine is Israel, which is represented in Ukraine by Mossad and practically all of the Israeli intelligence services. Including the Komemiyut management, that's an administration within Mossad, whose business is the physical removal of Mossad's opponents. Komemiyut is Hebrew for "sovereignty". This Komemiyut administration, for example, they were the ones who killed the Iranian nuclear scientists. They are very effective, like Mossad generally. Aman is military intelligence service of the Prime Minister. Shabak is the internal security service. Shin Bet, Nativ - they are all present in Ukraine. Israel's current ambassador in Ukraine is Reuven Din El - formerly a Mossad resident in the CIS countries, he was thrown out of Moscow, and then received in Ukraine as ambassador.

Vlad Lerner of Nativ is the First Secretary of the Israeli embassy. In this respect you have to give them their dues, the Israeli intelligence services, for how they work in Ukraine. Also important to be clearly aware of - Mossad operates in close contact with CIA and MI6. It's a unified snake of intelligence agencies, which gets the job done.

All of the western intelligence agencies, including Israel's, are very active in the higher education establishments in Ukraine. This year I gave a lecture at the Seliger youth forum. Guys from Kiev told me that in almost all large institutes of higher education in Ukraine, especially in Kiev, there is a NATO room, a NATO department. If you want to make a career, you have to attend several of their programs. That's what's going on. The Anglo-american intelligence services are not falling behind Mossad.

What is Israeli intelligence doing? Under the guise of looking for students who are Jewish or have Jewish roots, they try to pick out all the talented students with good prospects, and send them to study in the West. Of all the universities in the West, where I have taught, Columbia, Yale, New York, the most powerful where I taught, was the Central European University of Soros, where only Jews are educated, moreover very well-prepared and carefully selected ones. On the course I lectured on there were three guys from Russia. Not from Moscow, but from Arkhangelsk, Ivanovo and Petersburg. These guys were really chosen ones, genuinely powerful.

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Two updates from Xinhua - China news
 
 
Note information blockade...
 
English.news.cn   2014-05-05 04:55:39      
MOSCOW, May 4 (Xinhua) --" Russia urged Sunday the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to immediately evaluate the situation in Ukraine in an objective manner.
 
"At a time when Ukrainian punitive squads are conducting their operations in Eastern Ukraine cleansing some communities and blocking others, the West has imposed an actual information blockade on the tragic developments taking place in that country," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
 
Even in OSCE circles, Moscow said, nobody knew blood was shed and troops were shooting at unarmed people in Ukraine.
 
"We demand that the relevant institutions of OSCE and the Council of Europe immediately give an objective evaluation of the developments in Ukraine," it added.
 
Also on Sunday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Russia was "indignant" that Kiev authorities had not fulfilled the Feb. 21 accord and the April 17 Geneva statement."
 
 
English.news.cn   2014-05-05 06:19:23      
BERLIN, May 4 (Xinhua) -- "Given the escalating violence in Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a second conference in Geneva to settle the Ukraine crisis, German television channel ARD reported on Sunday.
 
In the ARD report from Berlin, Steinmeier said: "I advocate that the first meeting in Geneva now should be followed by a second meeting in Geneva, during which clear appointments will be met on how to bring this conflict to a halt and how to lead the conflict to a political solution."
 
Steinmeier said he had hold "many talks in the past hours" on a new international conference on Ukraine with his U.S. and Russian counterparts John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, as well as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
 
"The tragedy of Odessa must actually be a wake up call for all of us," said Steinmeier, "We must now make every effort again to come back to the Geneva agreement."
 
He also said, therefore it is necessary to set up local round table meetings, and to ensure that local conflicts are resolved in individual cities gradually, adding that anything else would be irresponsible because it would only mean more victims.
 
In addition, Steinmeier expressed his hope that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could play a greater role in the conflict in the future.
 
"It was right to rely on the OSCE as a neutral organization in the conflict," and the organization would be accepted by all parties, said Steinmeier."
 
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Update from RT- link provided
 
Western media is willfully concealing from the American people the massacre of unarmed civilians in Odessa, Ukraine on May 2 by pro-Maidan radicals, including members of nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations.
 
Notorious radical group Right Sector played a key role in the February violent coup, and the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party is holding key positions in the new coup-installed Ukrainian 'government,' which is supported by the US and EU governments. 
 
To avoid mentioning the role of neo-Nazis in the massacre, media weasel words such as “the sequence of events is unclear” are being substituted for the truth clearly seen in videos and eyewitness accounts, which show unarmed anti-coup protestors being burned alive by radicals, who then beat survivors with clubs. 
 
This kind of corporate media manipulation of the American people is, in fact, nothing new. It follows a well-established pattern – a pattern of false or distorted reporting to demonize those who the US state opposes, and to uphold those who it supports, regardless of the truth of the matter. The purpose is to manipulate the American people into supporting US state policies and positions which they would not support if given the truth. 
 
 
 
 
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Error in Ukraine article

Dear Chris and Adam,

I appreciated the Ukraine articles.  They rightly point out that aggressive US foreign policy is cavalier and dangerous and that the US did not keep its promise to contain NATO.  The articles also seek to warn PP members that we should not underestimate the possible consequences of this crisis.  I appreciate all of that.  

Yesterday, I contacted Peak Prosperity and pointed out a needed correction in the article.  It comes from the section with the header "Ukraine and NATO":

After 15 years of wooing, the US thought it had things pretty well locked up and everything appeared to be going according to plan as recently as early November 2013.  Our man in charge over there was Victor Yanukovych and he seemed to be playing ball with the West.

To characterize Yanukovych as "our man in charge" - which in the context of the paragraph, means the US' man -  is an error.  Yanukovych has been much more closely aligned with Russian interests than with Western interests for at least a decade. At the end of this message I will include more information regarding Yanukovych's affiliation with Putin and Russia.

If it is PP's view that this is not an error, it would be helpful to know why, as it seems clear that Yanukovych was much more closely aligned with the Russian government than with the US.

Thanks,

Hugh

*****Background info showing that Yanukovych was not the US' man in Ukraine*****

Helpful Wikipedia pages: Orange Revolution, Viktor Yanukovych, Viktor Yuschenko.  

In the 2004 Ukrainian presidential race, Yanukovych, who was more pro-Russia in the campaign, was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election over Yuschenko, a candidate who was more pro-West.  Yanukovych had been supported by Kuchma, the president that preceded him.  Kuchma had originally made overtures to both the West and Russia, but moved closer to Russia toward the last years of his presidency.  
 
Yuschenko had  been poisoned by dioxin during the campaign and he alleges that the perpetrators were pro-Putin interests in the Ukraine, or Russia's government itself.  Yuschenko's party disputed the election results and massive protests, which came to be known as the Orange Revolution, broke out. Yuschenko got a re-vote, which found him to be the winner, and was president from 2005-2010.  
 
In 2009, Yanukovych went to St. Petersburg and publicly expressed unity between his Ukrainian Party of Regions and Putin's United Russia.   Then, in 2010, Yanukovych won the presidential election and remained president until he fled in February of this year.
 
Yanukovych opposed joining NATO and supported Russian as an official second language in Ukraine. Yuschenko supports joining NATO and opposes Russian as an official second language in Ukraine.
 
 
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Fewer demands, more digging please

Hugh,

I appreciate your ever-present eye for accuracy, but would invite you to either pose a request as to where you might find more information or to do some more digging before demanding a retraction or claiming an error.

What I will present below took about five minutes of digging.

The simple facts are that the west was perfectly happy with Yanukovych in charge until he balked at the AA signing party.  After that his 'career' could have been measured with an egg timer and he was ousted in a matter of months after that transgression.  That tells me all I need to know about the west's relationship with him at a high level.

But with a bit of digging we find that his and his son's main financial assets are (soon to be 'were') housed in the west, in Switzerland and London specifically, and that too tells us a lot about their relationship with the west, and it speaks to a very cozy one.

From Bloomberg.com

Oleksandr Yanukovych owns a Swiss commodity trading company through a Dutch holding unit. He’s the son of ousted Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in February. That same month, Swiss police raided and seized documents at the Geneva offices of Oleksandr’s firm as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering.

The case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed, according to Swiss authorities. Viktor Yanukovych and his son have both been sanctioned by the EU. Switzerland has issued a decree freezing all assets Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s federal prosecutor has frozen 170 million Swiss francs ($193.8 million) of assets in bank accounts belonging to Viktor Yanukovych and people close to him, Swiss newspaper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag reported yesterday.

By the time the son of a light-fingered and pivotal leader has been allowed to open up a commodities trading company in Switzerland through a dutch holding unit we can have some confidence that they have significant and detailed relations with the west.  The west blocks anybody they don't like and they do it all the time.

Next, that famous palace of Yanukovych's has an odd set of owners for someone you describe as Russia's man:

Ukraine's stunning presidential compound was sold by a UK company with links to ousted president Viktor Yanukovych

Feb 28, 2014

Ukraine's opulent presidential compound was sold using a UK shell company with links to the country’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych, it has emerged.

The complex ownership structure was revealed in documents seen by The Daily Mail newspaper that detail a web of secretive companies in the UK, Liechtenstein and Austria.

The property was acquired with no competitive tender in 2007 by a Ukrainian company, which immediately sold it to another firm named Tantalit.

Tantalit was part owned by a UK registered firm named Blythe (Europe), which is in turn owned by a trust in Liechtenstein, whose beneficiary remains shrouded in mystery.

And the sole director of Blythe (Europe), which has a registered office on London’s prestigious Harley Street, is Dr Reinhard Proksch, whose name appears on a series of company documents linked to Yanukovych.

Hmmmm...what odd behavior for a man with closer ties to Russia than the west, holding so many of his assets in a complex variety of UK, Swiss, Austrian and Liechtenstein companies and trusts, wouldn't you say?

This sort of arrangement, where a tin-pot dictator or cad President like Yanukovych gets fabulously wealthy but all the proceeds end up in western banks is a textbook sign of state sponsored control and influence.  It makes the individual being controlled feel like they are independently and unassailably wealthy but that rarely is the case if their relations with the west sour.

When these sorts of assets begin showing up in Russian banks, or Hong Kong or Shanghai banks, we'll know that some other country was in control of funneling the money to the individual in question.

It's the oldest trick in the book. You give these dictators (like Marco of the Philippines) seemingly massive amounts of money and you allow them to loot their own countries but the catch is they are 'encouraged' to have that money end up in western banks and holding companies. That way, if things ever sour between the west and the dictator, the assets revert back to the west as they are 'frozen' and then 'seized.'

Both of those words are code words for things didn't work out between the parties involved and now the west wants 'its' money back.

If you like the details, they too are easily available on the net, minimal digging required, which cover the daunting complexity of these arrangements.

Note that my personal view is that so much money movement and company creation is not possible without the astute eyes of the NSA, et al., watching very carefully.

In this game, nothing is left to chance that can be tracked.  You'll see here where the Tantalit company mentioned in the palace case fits in.  Warning, these details are mind-numbingly complex.

Dr. Reinhard Proksch also provides services to President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Until September 2013 Proksch’s company Blythe (Europe) Ltd, registered under the address of London office of COMPAREVE SE owned Mezhygirrya estate — a luxurious residence of President Viktor Yanukovych.

It is common knowledge that since 2003 the President of Ukraine has been living in a former state residence called Mezhyhirya, which was privatized by MedInvestTrade LLCin 2007 and then sold to Tantalit LLC within two months. Tantalit LLC was founded by Pavlo Lytochenko, a resident of Donetsk; he owns 0.03% (44,000 UAH, approximately 4,000 Euro) of the statutory capital. He is also the founder of Dom Lesnika LLC, which privatized the hunting grounds in Sukholuchya. The second founder of Tantalit LLCis an Austrian company — Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH, which contributed more than 146 million UAH (approximately 13,27 million Euro), accounting for 99.97% of the statutory fund. The Director of Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH is Johan Wanovits was convicted in April 2013 for manipulating shares of Telekom Austria in order to increase the value of bonuses for former telecom managers.

The Austrian Register of Companies shows that the founders of Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH included Blythe Associate Inc (BVI), which transferred its shares to Blythe (Europe) Ltd (UK), and Euro Invest Bank (Austria). It is interesting to note that the principal shareholder of the Euro Invest Bank is Ms. Gabriela Wanovits and the Chairman of the Board of Directors is Frank Wanovits.

In 2008, Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH changed the composition of the company’s founders and only Euro Invest Bank and Blythe (Europe) Ltd were left on the list. Subsequently, Blythe (Europe) Ltd. bought Euro Invest Bank’s shareand became the sole owner with 99.97% of the statutory capital of Tantalit LLC that privatized Mezhygirrya.

It is interesting to note that at the time of purchase of Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH by Blythe (Europe) Ltd, the company had enormous debts,which were 600 times higher than its authorized capital and amounted to 30.5 million euros. Allegedly, this amount of money was Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH investment via Tantalit LLC in Mеzhygirya. However, this did not dissuade Dr. Reinhard Proksch from acquiring the company.

Blythe (Europe) Ltd is registered in London UK; the company has two employees: Director Dr. Reinhard Proksch and a company secretary. According to the British Register of Companies — Company House, Blythe (Europe) Limited was founded by P&A Corporate Services Trust, Lichtenstein office of COMPASERVE SE. In September 2013,Tantalit LLC was purchased by Serhiy Kliuyev for 146.6 million UAH (approximately 13.32 million Euro)— the cost of the authorized capital of Tantalit LLC. Once again,according to the words of Serhiy Kliuyev, he acquired both Tantalit LLC and its enormous debts. According to Sergiy Kluyev, he had to take a loan from PJSC Ukrpidshypnyk.

Dr. ReinhardProksch is also directly tied to the privatization of hunting grounds in Sukholuchya (more than 30,000 hectares) used by President ViktorYanukovych.

Dom Lesnika LLC privatized this domain; this company was founded by a British company — Astute Partners Ltd, whose directoris, according to constituent documents, Reinhard Proksch and the registration addresscoincides with the COMPASERVICE SE office in London.

Finally, Dr. Reinhard Proksch has also been implicated in the luxury helicopters and aircraft, which are leased through «Tsentravia» LLC for President Yanukovych, and paid with the Ukrainian taxpayer’s money.

The principal founder of Tsentravia LLC is Blythe Associates Inc., which owns over 99.9% of the shares of the aviation company. This company is registered offshore, in the British Virgin Islands. Blythe Associates Inc. from the British Virgin Islands, which currently owns Yanukovych’s helicopter, was listed in 2008 as the founder of the Austrian company — Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH — which already owned Mezhyhirya at that time. In 2008, the composition of shareholders of the Viennese company —Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH — was changed. Instead of Blythe Associates Inc., Blythe (Europe) Ltd. started gaining more and more importance as a shareholder.

In both cases, the tender was held in breach of competitive procurement process with only one participant. Tsentravia LLC won the bidding allegedly due to technical problems in bidding applications of two other competitions. The lack of competitive and transparent bidding process made it possible to pay for air transfer of Presidnet of Ukraine twice the price quoted by Executive Craft, a UK-based company, which leases similar helicopters and jets.

(Source

In closing, while it is certain the Yanukovych was trying to play the middle of a game he couldn't possibly successfully straddle forever, he did fine until he disappointed the west, then we was ousted, and now his assets are being 'tracked' and soon to be 'frozen' and then 'seized.'

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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Still digging, still considering

Thanks for the reply, Chris.  The first thing that might be helpful here is to try to remove any traces of prickliness on my part.

I'm sorry if I came across as demanding.  I did contact the Peak Prosperity's owners one day before I posted this, with essentially the same message, in order to make the request for correction more constructive by making it private.  They chose not to respond even with one line, such as "keep digging", or to address this is in some other way.  That's fine, as I assume we are all very busy.  

But, I hope the fact that I didn't just bring this up on the thread right away counts for something in terms of an effort to be less critical and more constructive as everyone in our community seeks to understand the Ukraine conflagration more clearly and accurately.  

I also trust that you are doing a lot of writing, research, and other work on many fronts, and I appreciate all of your efforts, as well as your ability to quickly research, analyze and write.  Knowledge is an important currency in this virtual community and we are all doing our best to make our knowledge as good as gold.smiley

I would respectfully submit that the burden of proof regarding your assertion that Yanukovych was the US' man lies with you as the author of the piece, as conventional wisdom on both sides of the former Iron Curtain is that Yanukovych was more closely aligned with Russia than with the US.  

I did do some research on this topic, as one can see from my post, and the research that I did seemed to suggest to me that the default conclusion is that Yanukovych was more closely aligned with Russia than with the US for the reasons I listed above.

Your arguments for why Yanukovych was indeed the US' man, on the other hand, are much more subtle.  They may be correct and compelling, however, and they certainly merit deeper research on my part.

For now, I will just quickly post a side by side comparison so that considering the arguments is easier.

Yanukovych was not the US' man Yanukovych was the US' man

Yanukovych  opposed Ukraine's accession NATO,

whereas

Yuschenko supported Ukraine's accession to NATO

Yanukovych was ousted in February, just three months after his government suspended the preparation for the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement 

Yanukovych and his Regions Party have made public declarations of unity with Putin's United Russia party.  

Yanukovych's mansion was owned by a complex shell company linked to various locations in the UK and other parts of Western Europe
No major natural gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine occurred between 2010-2014, while Yanukovich was president Yanukovych's son was able to open a commodities trading company in Switzerland, through a Dutch holding unit.
Three natural gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine occurred between 2005-2010, when Yuschenko was president. The last three cells on the left were not included in my original post.  Sorry for weighing the table towards the "Yanukovych was not the US' man" side, but that is what I believe to be the case as of now.
Yanukovych fled to Russia after the Maidan revolution/protests/coup where I believe he remains.    
   

I will try to do more digging to see if I can better appreciate the argument that Yanukovych was indeed the US' man.  And, I will continue to try to keep others in the loop while also doing my part to help all of us construct as clear of an understanding of this issue as possible.

Thanks,

Hugh

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Conventional wisdom

Hugh, 

You lost me after you wrote,  "conventional wisdom holds". The article Chris has written is pretty exhaustive.  He seems to have taken pains to highlight that the smoke and mirrors perceptual quagmire that define the Ukraine, obliterate most reasoning, based on 'conventional wisdom'. 

Chris is probably playing to his greatest strength here, which is geo- political-economical analysis.

It may not be your intent but you seem to be 'policing' this article and trying to nail the writer, deliver technical demerits to an 'opponent'  and garner points. Being super polite about it actually makes the intent more transparent. 

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Ah, there's the problem

HughK wrote:

(...)

I would respectfully submit that the burden of proof regarding your assertion that Yanukovych was the US' man lies with you as the author of the piece, as conventional wisdom on both sides of the former Iron Curtain is that Yanukovych was more closely aligned with Russia than with the US.  

(...)

Ah, well, let me respectfully submit back to you that there's no such thing as "proof" in geopolitics.  You will be perpetually disappointed if you try to assign specific, singular motives to any particular major player or set of players.  Further, it is not my job to provide such proof, or any proofs, because none exist.  

It's a big, complicated world.  Watch the movie Syriana for a very nice theatrical presentation of the complexities involved.  That's close to the mark.  Or just read some Tom Clancy.  Or Machiavelli.  

Instead what I do is lay out the mosaic and then conclude which way things lean.  My conclusion that he was 'our man' is based on two things, (1) the west was ok with Yanukovych until it wasn't and then he was taken out and (2) he had a crap ton of assets in western banks and complex shell structures.  

In terms of 'proof' that's about as good as it gets.

One thing I am certain of is that 'conventional wisdom' is not a good starting point.  What I am trained to do is look past what is conventionally presented and I always come to the conclusion that what I am being fed by the conventional media machine is partly or mostly wrong in very important ways.  On all sides.

The closest we can get to the 'truth' is to know that events are the sum of vastly complicated and interlocking pieces.  

If you find yourself needing a final, solid and unassailable position, or proof if you will, then geopolitics is going to be endlessly frustrating and it may not ever really be to your liking.

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Perservering on the path

Thanks, Chris, for your reply.  

Oversimplification is actually one of the things I was addressing, as the claim that even Yanukovych  (as well as Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, Tyahnybok, Timoshenko, and Yuschenko) is the US' man would mean that Putin had been so powerless in the Ukraine over the last four years to not even have one major political ally/pawn.  

Of course it is right to challenge the mainstream narrative for its misrepresentations, lack of appropriate context and outright deceptions.  I wouldn't be here if I simply wanted to swallow conventional wisdom whole, that's for sure.  

But, since we know that complexity, hidden causes, and veiled influences make our quest for understanding more difficult, we still have to try to correctly identify the various pieces of the puzzle.

Throughout this dialog I have tried to add information to that puzzle, such as background on the position of Yuschenko and Yanukovych during the Orange Revolution as well as the fact that there were 3 natural gas disputes with Russia when Yuschenko was in charge and no gas disputes when Yanukovych was in charge.

It is certainly true that if one takes the need for proof too far in any branch of the social sciences - not just geopolitics - then one is left concluding nothing.  

And, if one is too cavalier with the available evidence, if one misattributes causation or control, then one forms a set of beliefs based on shadows, suspicions, and biases

This is what makes geopolitics so hard.  But, since most of us tend to be interested in the human story, we don't give up, even if we get frustrated once in a while.smiley

We're all walking a narrow path between the unreachable mountain of incontrovertible proof and the empty air of unfounded beliefs, and I believe we are all doing our best to negotiate this tightrope.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Here's some truth for all of us...

I can, as a historian and teacher, assure everyone that this truth remains: The ones who will suffer most from all of this are ordinary, everyday, mostly innocent Russians and Ukrainians.

I can't get to the bottom of all of this, factually, any more than anyone else. I "smell" multiple rats when I read anything by both the "west" and the "east." Every side is lying, and each side is telling some truth, but when it all settles it will be the elites who win and the people who will be left holding the bill and the body parts.

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Well said...

Snydeman wrote:

I can, as a historian and teacher, assure everyone that this truth remains: The ones who will suffer most from all of this are ordinary, everyday, mostly innocent Russians and Ukrainians.

I can't get to the bottom of all of this, factually, any more than anyone else. I "smell" multiple rats when I read anything by both the "west" and the "east." Every side is lying, and each side is telling some truth, but when it all settles it will be the elites who win and the people who will be left holding the bill and the body parts.

Well said and the main point I am driving towards.  The only certainties are that there are elements in society that feed upon chaos and war, they will pursue their aims, many will get rich on plunder and sales, and the ordinary people who want none of this will suffer and lose the most.

Being 'ruled' (even if that means completely behind-the-scenes and from an unelected position) by socio and psychopaths has its consequences.

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Of course, when you have

Of course, when you have oligarchic control, you have concentration of capital and assets in a few criminal hands.  Russia, under Yeltsin became a thugocracy and the Ukraine, as outlined by other posters,is much the same. The crucial difference in Russia and the former satellite countries is this--Putin is a grass roots populist who is trying to rein in the oligarchs, within their current legal system.  Russian military is not being used by a puppet dictator, (like Obama) to further an insane agenda to take over the world, its resources and all of its financial systems. 

So although the average person surely suffers under an oligarchy, Russia is not the worst offender, nor is it the aggressor in the Ukraine or elsewhere. 

NATO currently, by using their military as a convenient club to beat other nations into line, at the behest of their own thugs, are the worst offenders. Neo-cons have to be brought under control and rather than a puppet presidency we need somebody more like Putin. 

The moral equivalency argument doesn't work here.  We may as well throw up our hands and sigh, "Oh well, boys will be boys!"

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1999

agitating prop wrote:

The crucial difference in Russia and the former satellite countries is this--Putin is a grass roots populist who is trying to rein in the oligarchs, within their current legal system.  

Hi agitating prop,

Continuing on the theme of trying to add bits of information to our provisional knowledge about what's going on in Russia and the Ukraine, here's a tidbit about Putin's rise to power:

In August of 1999, Putin was the head of the FSB, and he was still not very well-known to the Russian people. At that time, Yeltsin said publicly that he would like to see Putin succeed him as president.  Putin became Prime Minister in that same month, which, under the Russian constitution, requires nomination by the president (Yeltsin) and confirmation by the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.

Then, for reasons that are not entirely clear, Yeltsin abruptly stepped down before the end of his term as president on the evening of December 31, 1999, and appointed Putin as acting President.  

The picture here is Putin receiving the briefcase with the nuclear codes, from Yeltsin's administration, on New Year's Eve, 1999 while much of Russia was partyin' hard.

This meant that Putin was able to run for president for the first time as an appointed incumbent, which is a pretty big advantage.  To my knowledge, Putin was never elected to any political office before being appointed as Russia's president. This doesn't really describe a grass-roots political leader.  

Granted, Putin has won 3 elections since then, and I do agree with the statement that Putin is a populist. I am also against the neo-con agenda as well as the military adventures and manipulation of US foreign policy.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Of course, when you have

Woops. Double post

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Putin and Maskirovka

I learned a new word today:  Maskirovka.

Maskirovka is a Russian word pertaining to the business of military deception. Although the word is sometimes translated as 'camouflage', this belies its much broader meaning that includes all measures, active and passive, designed to deceive the enemy, which includes: concealment, imitation using decoys and military dummies, maneuvers intended to deceive and disinformation.

Putin is a black belt in Judo.  As a former judoka, I remember the basic strategy of competition (randori) includes lots of deception.  Prior to a serious attempt to throw an opponent you precede the real move with pulls, nudges, twists, torques, sweeps, leaning back, leaning in, pulling down on left elbow, then on the right, straight arm the left shoulder, and every manner of combinations of these you can invent.   When the moment for your throw comes, it is experienced as just another one of your 50 - 60 feints and is a surprise.

I assume intelligence agents do much the same (though my personal experience here is limited to a book case full of novels).  Putin's early career was in the KGB,  I understand.

Some Maskirovka from this morning:

PUTIN: RUSSIA PULLED BACK TROOPS FROM UKRAINIAN BORDER

....but ooops.....

Putin Pulls A Fast One: NATO Says No Russian Troop Withdrawal

And from recent days:

US F-15 Intercepts Russian Strategic Bomber Near Guam

It appears Russian military activities are picking up around the world. As AP reports, the commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific is reporting a significant increase in activities by Russian planes and ships in the region; adding that "there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California ... and a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam."

Russian "Doomsday Plane" Spotted Flying By Finland Border

Russian "Doomsday Plane" Flies For 4th Consecutive Day

Russian Platoon Withdrawing From Ukrainian Border, Russian Defense Ministry Says

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More food for thought...

Here's another perspective of what's going on from Brandon Smith at alt-market.com.  (I'm not sure how I originally got to this article, so if someone here has already posted it, my apologies). Whether it is right or wrong (i.e., what its truth value is) I do not know.  But it is an interesting hypothesis on the motives behind events we're seeing, and I'd be interested in others' thoughts on it.  JGritter had posted a similar notion (i.e., could there be more to this than we realize?) on one of the threads related to this article.  I don't know if this is potentially very perceptive, or reading more into it than what is there.

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2126-false-eastwest-paradigm-hides-the-rise-of-global-currency

Despite popular belief, very few things in our world are exactly what they seem. That which is painted as righteous is often evil. That which is painted as kind is often malicious. That which is painted as simple is often complex. That which is painted as complex often ends up being disturbingly two dimensional. Regardless, if a person is willing to look only at the immediate surface of a thing, he will never understand the content of the thing.

This fact is nowhere more evident than in the growing “tensions” between the elites of the West and the elites of the East over the crisis in Ukraine.

I am continually astonished at the refusal of many otherwise intelligent people to consider the evidence or even the possibility that there is, in reality, no fundamental political or philosophical conflict between the power brokers of the East and the West. As I outlined in great detail in Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too, the truth is they are both working toward the same goal; and both ultimately benefit from an engineered and theatrical display of international brinksmanship.

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American Mercinaries in Ukraine

From zerohedge (and a German newspaper) this morning:

400 Blackwater Mercs Deployed In Ukraine Against Separatists, German Press Reports

More evidence that Ukraine's "internal affair" is a proxy conflict between power factions.

I think that more important than the content of headline itself, is the increasing trend of using PRIVATE SECURITY FIRMS in the global chess game.  In the same way that Citizens United gave the rich a bigger voice in the electoral process, private security firms give the rich a more direct voice in global violence for power and profit.  

Privately funded, organized, equipped and contracted, they answer to no one but the cartel that employs them.   No nationality, no ideology, no morality, no need for those pesky Geneva Convention rules of warfare.  They answer to only a corporate cartel whose only goal is profit.  This is a formula for a great deal of human suffering.

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Oh Brother!

From zerohedge this morning.  Can you believe it?

The Farce Is Complete: Joe Biden's Son Joins Board Of Largest Ukraine Gas Producer

Corruption at its finest. 

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Crony GeoPolitical Military Industrial Capitalism.....

CGPMIC for short.  Hey... can't you see he's wearing his flag pin Sandpuppy?  How can you badmouth anyone wearing a flagpin?   

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Would you like to know more?

Your kids can go here and learn all about 9/11 from Michael Bloomberg:

https://www.911memorial.org/lesson-plans-k-2

https://www.911memorial.org/board-directors

Gotta start educating those kids as young as possible.  Teach them to learn to read good and do other things good too.

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Yawn!

The only thing surprising here is that anyone finds this surprising. Nothing, absolutely nothing, should  surprise anymore. They don't even try to hide it anymore.

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Ah yes

the 21st of May, official cementing into the psyche of the masses for the big lie. 

I want to puke!

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The money

Pretty, pretty good.yes   

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Nukes

Feel the fear. Listen to the old men speak.

This will get away from the arrogant fools in Washington.

Dr. PC Roberts.

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More on Ukraine Nukes

Well, this is unsettling....

Seems that good old profit-motivated greed trumps safety concerns.  How surprising.

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Poland Stuck in the Middle

For those interested in developing an open-minded and multifaceted outlook to the Ukraine crisis, here's a bit about Poland's perspective, forwarded to me by a Polish colleague here at my school:

Poland stuck in the middle

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What about the Subs?

Dr Robert says that the Neocon plan is to encircle Russia with anti-missile missiles and thereby eviscerate Russia's nuclear deterrent.

Sounds like fun. Have they taken into consideration the subs? One of them can do a lot of damage, so they had better know where every one is.

The rats will be in some nuclear bunker when they press the button. (You are on your own Joe Sixpack) I don't think that they will enjoy the fruits of their labour when they emerge. Leukemia is not a fun way to die.

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So...

...this is what it feels like to live through the eye of a economic collapse.

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This Assumes Old Cold War Mentality

HughK wrote:

For those interested in developing an open-minded and multifaceted outlook to the Ukraine crisis, here's a bit about Poland's perspective, forwarded to me by a Polish colleague here at my school:

Poland stuck in the middle

When I run across an analysis that essentially frames Russia into the old cold war USSR model, I suspect I am reading something written by an older person.  Possibly of Brzezinski's age and outlook.

Instead I find myself more drawn to this sort of a view, surprisingly found in Forbes, of all places.  The basic argument is that Russia has no big aspirations to reform the USSR, it had just been pushed to the wall by NATO expansion:

Why Everything You've Read About Ukraine Is Wrong

This article is by Vladimir Golstein, a professor of Slavic studies at Brown University. He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1979.

The mainstream American media has taken a nearsighted view of the Ukrainian crisis by following a script laid out by the State Department. Most reports have either ignored the truth or spun it in a way that paints only a partial picture. Here are seven things you should know about Ukraine.

1. Regardless of claims by some commentators like Forbes contributor Greg Sattell, the divisions in Ukraine are real, and violence unleashed by the Kiev regime is polarizing the nation further. While the differences between the Ukrainian west and the more Russian-facing rest of the country are widely acknowledged, what tends to be overlooked is that the culture, language, and political thinking of western Ukraine have been imposed upon the rest of Ukraine. Ostensibly this is for the sake of “unifying the country,” but in fact the objective has been to put down and humiliate Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population. The radical nationalists of western Ukraine, for whom the rejection of Russia and its culture is an article of faith, intend to force the rest of the country to fit their narrow vision.

Western and eastern Ukraine do not understand each other’s preoccupations, just as Cubans in Miami and Cubans in Havana would not understand each other. Ukrainian conflict is not the conflict between the “pro-Russian separatists” and “pro-Ukrainians,” but rather between two Ukrainian groups who do not share each other’s vision of an independent Ukraine.

Ukraine was joined to Russia only during Stalin’s era. For centuries it was under the cultural, religious, and/or political control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Poland. Hating Soviet occupation, western Ukrainian nationalists viewed Stalin as a much greater villain than Hitler, so that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists aligned themselves with Nazis and, led by their radical leader Stepan Bandera, proceeded to rid their land of other ethnic groups, including Poles and Jews. Western Ukraine is unified in its hostility toward Russians, whom they see as invaders and occupiers.

During the last 20 years, as Ukraine tried to distance itself from its Soviet past and its ideology, it chose the nationalism of western Ukraine as the alternative. A necessary correction, perhaps, but the one that has generated its own dangerous myths. Easterners are angry that pro-Bandera banners, posters and graffiti are popping up all over Ukraine and with the rewriting of history in general, where violent nationalists who fought alongside the Nazis are treated as heroes while Russians, who suffered under Stalin no less than the Ukrainians, are denigrated.

Following the exile of President Victor Yanukovich and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian nationalist rhetoric has become downright offensive and hysterical, ostracizing further the people in the east. The escalating violence will continue to radicalize both sides, so instead of finding a democratically acceptable solution they will resort to baseball bats and AK 47s. 

2. The Western press was wrong about the massacre of Ukrainian citizens in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when as many as 100 (the officially accepted number appears to be 42) unarmed people were burned alive in an Odessa building. When telling the story, the Western press reported on the clashes between pro-Ukrainian soccer hooligans and pro-Russian protesters without any explanation as to why the results of these clashes were so one-sided. What happened in Odessa was something ominously familiar to Eastern Europe: an organized pogrom.

At least the BBC got part of the story right: “several thousand football fans began to attack 300 pro-Russians.” And as in every pogrom, the victimizers blamed their defenseless victims for initiating it. In fact, pro-Kiev thugs armed with iron rods and Molotov cocktails attacked the camp of protesters, set it on fire, and forced the protesters to retreat into a building, which was set on fire. It was a blatant act of violence and intimidation. The current leaders of Ukraine promised an investigation, but so far their only response has been to blame the passivity of security forces.

The truth is that the victims simply refused to share Kiev’s radical nationalist agenda. Should we call civilians “separatists” or “terrorists” only because their rejection of radical nationalism has resulted in Occupy-type protests? Why not call them moderate Ukrainians? Incompetent at best and vicious at worst, the Ukrainian government is failing its own population by condoning the intimidation and thus radicalizing it further. This is major news, a possible watershed in the unfolding drama of Ukrainian civil war, yet Western coverage has quickly forgotten the story.

3. The Ukrainian elections scheduled for May 25 would hardly solve the economic problems of Ukraine, since there is a glaring absence of good candidates. Current political contenders in the elections are either Soviet-style oligarchs like Petro Poroshenko, corrupt politicians like former Prime Minister Iulia Timoshenko, or former member of Timoshenko’s cabinet Arseny Iatseniuk. Corrupt as ousted president Viktor Yanukovich proved to be, he did win the role in the last election, with the country traumatized by Timoshenko’s own corruption. It is a sad feature of the Ukrainian political scene that its most independent and dynamic politician is Oleh Tyahnibok from western Ukraine, the controversial leader of the far-right nationalist party, Svoboda. His party is mired in Bandera-Nazi accusations, while Russia declared him a “fascist” and opened a criminal case against him for organizing the assault on the civilians in eastern Ukraine.

4. Politicians do not really matter in Ukraine, because Ukraine is the land of oligarchs. For better or for worse, Putin has put an end to oligarch rule in Russia. Members of Putin’s inner circle may be immensely rich, but they know to whom they owe their wealth. By imprisoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin sent a clear message to the all-powerful oligarchs that controlled Russia during former president Boris Yeltsin’s time: stay out of politics. Ukraine didn’t have this experience, and the politicians seem to be working in unison with, if not under the control of, oligarchs.

There are frequent tensions among them or between them and politicians; for instance, the richest person in Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov, worked closely with Yanukovich, while others preferred Timoshenko or Victor Iuschenko. Akhmetov’s business interests are connected with the metallurgical industries in the east and he has organized his 300,000 employees to help him assert his control over eastern Ukraine and fend off military attacks on civilians, attacks which were encouraged by another oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky.

5. The Western press, including Forbes, has underestimated the extent of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky’s influence. Taking the concept “corporate raiding” literally, Kolomoisky has employed paramilitary units at his disposal for all kinds of hostile takeovers. Undoubtedly a shrewd businessman, he managed to wrestle various businesses from such powerful competitors as the current president of Tatarstan, and, if we believe Putin, from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Kolomoisky’s recent foray into politics has been carried out on the same grand scale.

Even though he resides in Switzerland, he has been appointed the governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region. He has offered a bounty of $10,000 for any “Russian Separatist,” provided the Ukrainian army with necessary equipment, and armed nationalist volunteers. With the regular Ukrainian army reluctant to shoot its own population, Kolomoisky’s units have participated in various military attacks on the east, including the May 9 assault on Mariupol, where several civilians were killed. Russian sources connect him to the massacre in Odessa. Members of the new governor of Odessa, appointed after the massacre, are his close associates.

Kolomoisky’s “pro-Jewish” activity has its own share of controversy. He gives money to various restoration or construction projects from Jerusalem to his native Dnepropetrovsk, serves as the president of the Jewish community in Ukraine, and in 2010 he became the president of the European Council of Jewish Communities, following his promise to donate $14 million for various projects. Other EJCJ members described his appointment as a “hostile takeover Eastern European style.”

After several of them resigned in protest, Kolomoisky quit the EJCJ, but not before he set up an “alternative” committee called European Jewish Union. Jewish leaders subservient to Kolomoisky claim that Ukraine is now an open, pluralistic society, but in light of Ukraine’s tradition of anti-Semitism and pogroms, it is hard to be optimistic. The Western press complains about Putin’s state-controlled media, but Kolomoisky has no less information control. His business holdings include the largest Ukrainian media group, “1+1 Media,” the news agency “Unian,” as well as various internet sites, which enable him to whip public opinion into an anti-Putin frenzy.

Andrew Higgins of The New York Times published a story with the headline, “Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry is Putin, Not Pogroms,” which praises Kolomoisky for adorning Dnepropetrovsk with “the world’s biggest Jewish community center” along with “a high tech Holocaust museum.” Higgins notes, however, that the museum “skirts the delicate issue of how some Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with Nazis…explaining instead how Jews supported Ukraine’s efforts to become an independent nation.”

In other words, this high-tech museum is no more than a media project, as it focuses on issues unrelated to the Holocaust at the expense of honoring the victims and documenting the role of the Ukrainian collaborators.

6. Russia is weak. The country is losing population and shrinking geographically and economically. Russia is clearly overextended. Look at the Russian-Chinese border, where the concentration of population reveals a grim picture for Russia: there are about 100,000 Chinese per square kilometer on the south side of the border vs. 10 Russians on the Russian side. Only a fanatical Russophobe would imagine that Russia wants to expand. The Baltic republics, Moldova, Georgia, and Poland, continue to prod Western media with the stories of Russian expansion, because NATO, the EU, and the USA are more than happy to “stand up to Russia” and provide financial aid.

7. President Putin has been accommodating to Western interests. Despite what you read in the Western press, he didn’t protest about NATO expansion, he gave up on a number of important Russian military bases, and acted aggressively only when he felt that Russia’s back yard was threatened. Annexation of Crimea, while responding to very strong popular demands both in Russia and Crimea, was a limited operation that enabled Putin to save his face after “losing” Ukraine.

Since then he has given plenty of indications that he is ready to call it a day. His limited goals are acknowledged in the writings and interviews of such people as former ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock, or former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. But what needs to be stressed is that the next Russian leader might not be that accommodating, especially in light of continuous and needless bullying on the part of the US. Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s NATO representative and a serious political figure on the right, has already declared that next time he’ll fly into Ukraine and Moldova on military bomber after these countries didn’t allow his plane to use their airspace.

What gave rise to Hitler was Germany’s continuous humiliation after World War I. The policy of public humiliation of Putin, the talk of “punishing” him or Russia for bad behavior, is insulting to the Russian leader and his countrymen. In contrast to Germany in 1939, Russia still has plenty of nuclear arms. Had Russia intended to enslave the US or its allies with its threat of nuclear bombs, I would be more than happy to repeat after New Hampshire: “Live Free or Die.” But is it worth it to taunt and threaten an already angry and frustrated nuclear power for the sake of handing Ukraine to the likes of Mr. Kolomoisky and his motley crew of oligarchs, nationalists, and subservient politicians?

Those Western politicians and journalists, who confuse the issue of defending freedom with the power games that the current Ukrainian elite is playing, should be aware that they are not serving, but rather betraying, cherished American principles.

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Wishful Thinking.

The short-term stability that Germany, other European countries, and the United States yearn for has already proven expensive.

The Author, Judy Dempsey, is either naive, a fool or a propagandist.

Poland Stuck in the Middle.

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Checks and Balances

If, as Dr Roberts suggests in the link posted by Arthur above, part of the America agenda is to blunt Russia's offensive nuclear capability by placing antiballistic missiles in Ukraine to deter or intercept a Russian nuclear strike it seems that a logical tactical move on the part of Russia would be to simply put their nuclear weapons in boxes and pay the postage.  This is an idea that has been out there for decades.  It seems that if you can move tons of illegal drugs into the country with little problem then nuclear bombs should be a piece of cake, especially as it has been shown innumerable times that you can deliver a very big bomb with a delivery system no more sophisticated then a truck.

If, as it appears, the oligarchs on the financial side of the Deep State are running amok with no checks to their power or to their disordered thinking, then I find myself in the awkward position of hoping for a military coup in the United States.  Colon Powell as Emperor is looking pretty good right now.  Of course if the threat of a coup has already been neutralized, it might explain some of the unbridled and bizarre behavior on the part of the neo-cons.

Ruminations from the dark side of the rabbit hole,

John G.

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It's about having different perspectives here regarding Ukraine

cmartenson wrote:

When I run across an analysis that essentially frames Russia into the old cold war USSR model, I know I am reading something written by an older person.

Hi all,

The reason I posted that piece is not because it's the key to understanding the Ukraine/Russia crisis.  It's because a colleague of mine, from Poland, sent it to me.  The reason she did this is because I forwarded the great map showing NATO's expansion that Chris included in the article at the top of this thread to our non-work-related teacher forum here at my school, as well as the 2009 Der Spiegel article that found that the US/NATO balked on its promise not to expand into the old Warsaw Pact countries.  She, like many Poles, is somewhat afraid of being in Russia's sphere of influence, and she is glad that her country is now in NATO.  That is not my perspective; it's hers.

So, whether or not people here find her article to be more or less enlightening than Russia Today clips or Paul Craig Roberts pieces, it's another perspective.  When I mixed the waters by exposing her to the map and the Der Spiegel article, it seems to have raised her hackles a bit.  But, I bet it also helped her see the conflict from a slightly broader perspective.  Those data points challenged her beliefs about this conflict.

Mixing the waters is usually a good thing.  When the right hand talks to the left, and vice-versa there is communication.

When, a few weeks ago, I tried to point out that Yanukovych was not the US' man, using specific, sourced arguments listed above, it also seems to have challenged some belief systems about this conflict.  The mixing of the waters is needed both here and and with my Polish friend regarding this conflict.  Here is an example of why I think this:

agitprop wrote:

Neo-cons have to be brought under control and rather than a puppet presidency we need somebody more like Putin. 

Whatever one thinks about US intervention, it seems pretty extreme to call for a president who is more like Putin. Again, when just one side has a voice, it hears little but its own echo. 
 
I'm definitely not in agreement with a cold war mentality;  on the other hand, my Polish friend may have some very real historical reasons to be concerned about Russia.  Here are three that don't come from the Cold War Period.  Two come from before that time and one comes after it, just four years ago.
 
Examples:  
The Molotov-von Ribbentrop dismembering of Poland
 
These events very much matter to my Polish colleague, and the reason that I am sensitive to the last of them, the 2010 Polish air force crash, is because I remember some former Polish students who were in my class in 2010 and were very concerned that the crash was a conspiracy by the Putin regime.  
 
That last event occurred in 2010; 20 years after the end of the Cold War.  So, there still may be some wisdom in my Polish colleague's caution - even fear - of Putin's Russia.  
 
But, even if one doesn't agree with her, there is still value in hearing her perspective, and mixing the waters.
 
Cheers,
Hugh
 
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jgritter
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Poland is irrelevant

As long as Russia controls 30% of Germanys energy supply anything Poland has to say is irrelevant, Germany is checkmated.  Russia doesn't have to expand, it's energy self sufficient and it's population is shrinking.  The United States is showing the signs of it's fatigue after brawling with much of the planet for decades.  All Putin has to do is to keep backing away and sooner of later the United States will literally and figuratively run out of gas and collapse.  Putin is in a position were he might win this fight without taking, or even throwing, a punch.  The question might be whether the Russians and Chinese will let us bleed out on the mat then divvy up our stuff or if they might help us back to our corner, take our gloves off, and offer us some foreign aid.  It is entirely possible that the United States might not salvageable, in which case I don't think anyone is going to miss us.

John G

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jgritter
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Is there a way to delete a

Is there a way to delete a double post?

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Time2help
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Posts: 2107
Rock bottom

jgritter wrote:

If, as it appears, the oligarchs on the financial side of the Deep State are running amok with no checks to their power or to their disordered thinking, then I find myself in the awkward position of hoping for a military coup in the United States.  Colon Powell as Emperor is looking pretty good right now. 

You know we must be close to rock bottom when "hey, that guy might not be such a bad supreme chancellor" starts to become appealing.../sarc wink

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HughK
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Three partitions of Poland

By chance or serendipity, the student I'm working with tonight is studying for his Modern World History exam, and one of the topics he has to know is the Final Partition of Poland.

This was a reminder to me that Poland was divided up between Russia, Prussia and Austria in 1795, in the last of three partitions.    Again, Polish history regarding the expansionist tendencies of its neighbors, including Russia, goes back a lot further than the Cold War.

Source

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Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Playing with Fire.

Bear in mind too that Prussia no longer exists. It started a fire that it could not put out.

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jgritter
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Russia is looking East

Hugh,

If Russia has contracted to sell 20 to 33% of it's natural gas production to China, then the decision has already been made at a very high level to jettison Western Europe.  My read of the tea leaves would seem to suggest that China and Russia looked each in the eye, Said "We have energy for sale" and "We have CASH to buy" and business was done.  That that may leave Western Europe and much of the rest of the world to go f**k themselves in the dark while the global economic fallout settles is unfortunate, but probably not vindictive.  It looks to me that Russia does not need to expand to the west as it may not be long before a humble Ukraine is begging hat in hand to be allowed to trade it's wheat for methane and Poles are pushing hand carts into Ukraine begging for agricultural work.

John G.

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jtwalsh
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Posts: 238
Good Annalysis

jgritter:  I had not thought about this until your last post but Putin has an interesting option here. Once he solidifies a guaranteed income flow to Russia from the Chinese, what need does he have for Ukraine, or for that matter all of Western Europe?  He has secured his military facilities in Crimea and he now appears to have found a ready market for Russian hydrocarbons.

If I were him, I would be tempted to cut off Ukraine from any Russian financial aid (which he appears to have already done) and send them scurrying to the European Union and the US for their financial support and energy supplies.

Thus adding another straw to our financial camel's back.

P.S.  The Polish economy seems to be already heavily weighted towards agriculture.  The question I see is: What happens when the Germans, French and Italians have no natural gas for their industry and home heating?

JT

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Arthur Robey
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Pie Jesu

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jtwalsh
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Posts: 238
Arthur

Pulchera! Pax vobiscum.

Let us hope the present circumstances are not the beginning of the requiem for us all.

JT

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