Thursday, September 3, 2015



I have always maintained that the line we have been fed by the mainstream media on the Ukranian situation has been extremely biased if not mendacious to say the least.  The line followed by US and British media has for the main part followed a very simple plot line which can be summarized as "Putin evil with ambitions of territorial expansion - Poroshenko good democrat who wishes for nothing more than a liberal democracy for Ukraine".  

There have been several ceasefires between combatants in the Donbass region, the two most notable being the Minsk I and II agreements.  Unfortunately they never seem to hold, and always the mainstream media line is that the untrustworthy Russians are violating the ceasefire.  

Perhaps it is worth considering how the fighting started.  After the overthrow of Yankovich following the so-called Euro-Maidan protests in Kiev, one of the first acts of the new parliament was to make Ukranian the only official language of the country.  Not surprisingly many citizens in the Russian-speaking eastern provinces were outraged, especially as they felt that the ousting of Yankovich was essentially an illegitimate  coup d'etat, backed and promoted by the US and EU.  Certainly the US state Department was heavily involved (remember Victoria Nuland's intercepted phone call when she identified  "Yats" - Arseniy Yatsenyuk - as the US's man).   

Many in the Russian speaking Donbass region were outraged by what was happening in Kiev and widespread public protests took place in Donetsk, Luhansk, Khakiv, Odessa and other places.  While the Kiev parliament did backtrack on the language proclamation, citizens in the Russian speaking east still felt that  their concerns were not being met and independent republics were declared in Donetsk and Luhansk.  It was at this point that Kiev sent troops to the east and began shelling civilian areas in the cities.  

Remember the outrage by western governments and press when Qadaffi was supposedly bombarding Libyan cities opposed to him.  Remember the allegations of how Saddam Hussein had gassed his own people.  Did anyone express outrage at the Kiev government's bombarding the cities of the Donbass region of Ukraine?  Of course not.  It was all blamed on Russia and the evil Putin.  Even when pro-Kiev louts locked pro-Russian demonstrators in the Trade Unions House in Odessa and set fire to it, resulting in 48 deaths from the fire and smoke inhalation, and 10 from people jumping from high windows, there was no real condemnation - rather it was un unfortunate incident, in spite of the fact that the crowds outside the burning building prevented access by fire crews.  

Later Poroshenko claimed "toxic substances" had been placed in the Trade Unions House to facilitate an increased death toll, and that the events were organised in advance by Russian and local officials.  Poroshenko's  acting chief of staff  said "That which we saw in Odessa was a [Russian] Federal Security Service provocation to deflect attention from the anti-terrorist operation [in eastern Ukraine]".  Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper   responded by saying that the "latest incidents were very deeply concerning" and accused President Vladimir Putin of starting a "slow-motion invasion" of Ukraine.  And much of the western mainstream media went along with this, without really questioning, because it went along with the pre-established narrative  

But getting back to the cease-fire violations which are routinely attributed to pro-Russian forces, it is worth remembering that in the latest Minsk agreement (Minsk II from last February, brokered by Merkel, Hollande and Putin) one of the commitments of the Poroshenko government was constitutional reform to permit more autonomy to Russian speaking regions.  Nothing much happened on this for seven months.  But last week some legislation pertaining to this issue was introduced into the Kiev legislature and a preliminary vote taken.  It passed by a small margin, but the result was serious rioting involving bombs, explosive devices and grenades. Three police officers were killed, and more than 100 people injured. The instigator of the violence was the same party that turned the Euro-Maidan demonstrations last year into a coup— Oleh Tyahnybok’s Svoboda, the neo-fascist party that canonizes Nazi collaborators and has as its symbol the swastika like Wolfsangel.  

Until recently the deputy prime minister in Kiev was a Svoboda member.  the party holds other offices in the Kiev government. 

Svoboda has been heavily involved as irregulars fighting in the Donbass, along with the  like-minded Right Sector.  If these groups are prepared to use fatal violence against the government in Kiev because they object to it making any accommodation with the Russian-speaking East, it doesn't seem at all unlikely that they would happily break the cease-fire in the East, knowing that the knee-jerk reaction of NATO and the western press would automatically blame the renewed fighting on the Russians.  

But Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have invested a lot in reaching a peaceful settlement and in spite of warmongering from NATO and the US Congress, they seem to want to persevere in this direction.   The attached article discusses this aspect in some detail.  It suggests that the possibility of a coup attempt by Svoboda and Right Sector is quite possible in the next few months if they see that peace may actually hold.

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