There are times when the media run by the global elite lets the truth slip out at little. In March 2015 leading US business magazine Forbes revealed that Crimeans prefer to be part of Russia rather than rejoin Ukraine, as shown by repeated polls some of which were conducted by Western institutions. As expected, Forbes couched the information in a headline suggesting that there must have been some Russian aggression: “One year after Russia Annexed Crimea, locals prefer Moscow to Kiev”. To be fair, the article then opens with the words:
“The U.S and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves. But the Crimeans are happy right where they are”.
But perhaps an alternate headline could read: “One year after a US sponsored coup in Ukraine, things are not going to plan” Perhaps Putin’s ‘annexation’ of Crimea helped the local population avoid the fate suffered by their fellow citizens in Donetsk and Lugansk who were repeatedly bombed and shelled following Porosheko’s order to unleash the Anti Terrorist Operation. Crimea remains unscathed.
Following the collapse of the USSR, Russia self esteem declined during the Yeltsin era. But now Russia is starting to again play an ever increasing role on the world stage. Russia’s mere existence poses a threat to US hegemony by way of its reluctant to acquiesce to the whims of the self-anointed world policeman. Also, the vast natural resource reserves that Russia possesses are needed to throw global capitalism a lifeline as it faces terminal decline. Hence, the need to surround Russia with NATO bases and attempt to, by all means possible, overthrow Putin and replace him with another Yeltsin.
One can also understand Russia’s paranoia. Russia was attacked twice by Germany within 27 years, on the latter occasion the invading forces were assisted by Ukrainian Banderists. Consider too the aggression from Japan in WW2 as well the invasion by multiple nations following the 1917 Russian revolution who sought to strangle the revolutionary ideas represented by fledgling socialist state. During the cold war, the US was arguably responsible for the lion’s share of aggression or ‘brinkmanship’. Yet, in the eyes of the West, Russian remains the villain.
In December 1991, the people of Ukraine voted to become independent of the USSR. Polarising inequalities, corruption and a resurgence of Ukrainian nationalism (at least in certain parts of the country) followed. The Ukraine of 1991 no longer exists, having been riven apart by civil war, economic collapse and a loss of democracy.
Crimea voted to join Russia after the US orchestrated coup in February 2014. The eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk followed suit but paid a heavy price in blood. Talk of secession has since appeared in the regions of Kharkov and Odessa, despite the presence of the increasingly repressive Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and allied paramilitaries.
Recently Standard and Poors downgraded Ukraine’s credit rating for the fifth time since 2013. An article published on a Ukrainian news website in February was titled: “Some experts say: If you can, you must leave [the country]”.
That article later discusses the effects of the high inflation and currency depreciation, describing how in Western Ukraine pensions and the minimum wage have sunk to the equivalent of $36.5 and $47 a month respectively. The article points out that the World Bank sets the absolute poverty threshold level at less than $1.25 a day. Economist Aleksandr Okhrimenko later states that with an average monthly salary of around $150 (130 Euros), Ukraine’s standard of living ranks below that of Tajikistan, Kyrgystan and well below Bulgaria (the EU’s poorest member). Thus Ukraine’s standard of living is now on a similar level to that of Senegal or Nepal. All the while, the Ukrainian currency, the Hryvnia, continues to decline. If Ukraine’s chances of joining the EU were slim in 2013, they are now vanishingly small. Another article states that the average retirement pension in Ukraine now amounts to 1600 Hryvnya (about 65 Euro) per month.”
After being pushed into civil war by the US and supported, mostly, with words only, the pawns leading the coup in February 2014 can survive only through an IMF lifeline. Additionally, Ukraine reportedly owes the ‘aggressor’ Russia $2.5 billion for gas that it has continued to deliver throughout the course of the ‘invasion’ (but for how much longer).
With the cream of the heavy industries in the Donbass lost through secession or destroyed by its own artillery shells it looks increasingly unlikely that the wheels which came off Western Ukraine’s economy will be reattached in the foreseeable future, let alone set in motion to create sufficient wealth to pay off the IMF debt. The IMF will, for a time, continue demanding massive restructuring such as widespread privatisation and massive increases in utility bills. When the people of Ukraine have nothing else left to give, the IMF will become reluctant to throw good money after bad knowing there will be no return on their investment. Russia too will not continue supplying gas for free. When Western money and Eastern gas cease to flow, which of Kiev’s nationalists and Western lovers will then pick up the tab?
If a prize existed to recognise the gratuitous destruction caused to one’s nation in the shortest space of time, surely Poroshenko, Yatsenkuk, Timochenko and their cliques could be in the running. They have succeeded in creating a record downturn in Ukraine’s fortunes. In just a single year, they have managed to turn a country with a shaky economy struggling to keep out of recession, though nevertheless a functioning one with a bourgeoise democratic system, into a dysfunctional state with a third world economy: an unenviable disaster zone plagued by civil war, fascism, and poverty. Whilst Putin is to blame for all this, or at least that is what we are repeatedly told, those who clamour loudest about patriotism and nationalism in Kiev have done the most damage to their nation.
However, the leaders could not have done it alone. The cosmopolitan urban dwellers and the wealthier and more ambitious sections of Ukrainian society sold their souls to find the pot of gold at the end of the EU rainbow. Now they face tears and disappointment. Those students and petty bourgeoisie of the Euromaidan movement who took to Maidan nezalezhnosti in November 2013, helped sell and dismember their nation through their naivety and greed. Instead of the democracy for which they sold their souls, they have found disappointment and destitution. In seeking economic freedom, they helped awaken the nationalist beast. Their dogmatic perseverance led to hundreds if not thousands of young Ukrainian men killing thousands of their former countrymen and women in the east of the country. Due to the stiff resistance of the self-defence forces in Donetsk and Lugansk, Poroshenko and his allies were increasingly forced to rely on gangs of paramilitary forces that include unashamed neo-nazi elements to implement their own version of the Shock and Awe. The mood of the population can be judged by the lack of willing young men heeding the draft call. Reportedly, the 4th wave of military mobilisation to have occurred in a year was a massive failure as many young men refused to report for military service. Many Ukrainians have fled abroad to avoid fighting for the Kiev cabal, a large number of these escaped to Russia, the aggressor.Indeed this must be the only time in recent history that a large number of military aged males flee to the ‘aggressor’ state for safety from their own government.
Due to the political passivity of the Communist Party of Ukraine and without a solid political party or movement offering a socialist alternative, in February 2014 the Euromaidan liberals were quickly swept aside by armed far right organisations. The working class of Ukraine, the unemployed, the retired, those who fought fascism in the 1940s, have been betrayed.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SALVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
RIP Ukraine 1991-2014
Dr Tomasz Pierscionek is editor of the London Progressive Journal