Yulia Tymoshenko Leaps Aboard the Egyptian Bandwagon

Uncle Volodya says, "Don't blame Yulia. She can't help it; she was born with a silver foot in her mouth"

In her latest attention-getting gambit, former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko expresses her “joy and admiration” at the rioting in Egypt and Tunisia. Kicking off what is likely meant to be a scathing indictment of the Ukrainian government, “The Revolution Betrayed” reminds readers that Ms. Tymoshenko is someone who has led a peaceful revolution. She appears unaware that the Egyptian protests have resulted in people trampled to death, wounded and vehicles burned; while the carnage is limited for the scale of numbers involved, it is not a “peaceful revolution”, and would likely have involved much higher casualties had not the riot police withdrawn rather than have to escalate to live fire.

That’s likely irrelevant if your purpose is to capitalize on protest elsewhere in the world in an effort to inspire Ukrainians to overthrow their government.

The trick to writing a political editorial is to inflame readers’ passions without ever actually taking a position you might be held to later, or directly accusing anyone when it might come back to bite you. Still, even in this exercise in full-contact avoidance, there are a few gems. The first is Ms. Tymoshenko’s contention that “elections do not a democracy make”. Well, yes, Yulia; actually, they do. You might not get the democracy you wanted, but free and fair elections do in fact constitute the definition of a democracy as we know it. I get the impression from this and other statements that Ms. Tymoshenko believes it’s only a democracy if the winner is the one you wanted. That’s not really as funny as it sounds, because an astonishing number of people who ought to know better also appear to believe it. You can tell who they are by the shrieking that the winner cheated, which follows elections both free and less so as reliably as mud follows heavy rain. Being part of a free democracy means those who lost the election are under no obligation to straighten up and fall in line with your plans; instead, they’re free to undermine your position and authority with every device at their command short of treason. Isn’t that what you’re doing with this article?

Ms. Tymoshenko accuses Mr. Yanukovich of hijacking the election in 2004 that ultimately brought Viktor Yushchenko to power (after a re-do which resulted in the candidate she thought should have won indeed winning, which perhaps validated her understanding of democracy), although he defeated Yanukovich by only 8% in the second vote. Yanukovich’s win in 2010 had him ahead of Tymoshenko by only 3%, but she implies he stole that election as well. Sorry, Yulia – international observers gave the 2010 election a clean bill of health. The people of Ukraine were not prepared to simply keep holding runoffs until you won. Even the Ukrainian press agreed the election was fair, which is curious given slightly more than half of Ukrainians voted Yanukovich should lead the country, while that was unacceptable in 2004. So the vote everyone agrees was fair varied from the one Orange Revolutionaries screamed was a fraud by only 5%. You’d think a rigged vote would be a little more one-sided.

Regardless, even those who supported the Orange Revolution agree the political regime which followed it was a disaster for Ukraine. Yulia Tymoshenko owns a big part of that disillusionment, although it might not be a surprise to those who thought a government led by a banker and an energy oligarch – who could not agree between themselves who was actually in charge – was dysfunctional from its outset. In the 2010 election, even some of Ms. Tymoshenko’s supporters agreed she had “failed to show any real achievements on the path to economic recovery” during her time as Prime Minister, and that which candidate was pro-western and which was pro-Russian had meant little to Ukrainians “exhausted after all the political uncertainty” and focused on who would be more likely to rebuild the cratered economy.

In the disastrous pilot of the cancelled "Vova and Yulichka Show", the shameless Yanukovich uses a ray-gun to remove the colour black's slimming powers, making Yulia's ass look fat.

Well, since we’re here, let’s take a look at Ms. Tymoshenko’s editorial, and how the reality of her life fits her words.

Let’s start with yesterday, when she blasted the Yanukovich government for sending 60 Ukrainian peacekeepers to Ivory Coast. It’s worth noting here that this is a U.N. operation, and in response to a request from the United Nations Security Council. Still, Ms. Tymoshenko flings herself into an ecstasy of righteous fury, calling out the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada for approving Yanukovich’s initiative. These deputies, we hear, “…most of whose families live outside Ukraine, including on yachts, in the Canary Islands, in Europe, are now with one click sending our children to someone else’s war…the president, who himself under certain circumstances did not serve in the Army, whose sons have not served in the military, who does not know the grief of mothers who lose their children in someone else’s war…”

Ms. Tymoshenko does not know the grief of losing a child in someone else’s war, either; has never served in the military, and has had family living outside Ukraine – her daughter, Eugenia, lived in London while she acquired her education there, married a rock musician from Leeds and is in no danger of ever serving in the Ukrainian Army. But let’s skip that – where families of Verkhovna Rada deputies live is irrelevant to a commitment of peacekeepers to U.N. operations. The whole point of that rant was to get it out front that Yanukovich never served in the military, but is in charge of sending others, and to make it appear that’s some kind of disgrace. No, it’s the insinuation that political figures are fat cats whose lucky families occupy their days lolling around on yachts and nibbling at the travel opportunities Daddy’s money provides. That bothers me a little, not least because one of Ms. Tymoshenko’s most ardent backers is Verkhovna Rada deputy and member of Tymoshenko bloc Kostyantin Zhevago; at 36, he was the youngest billionaire in Ukraine, and by some accounts the youngest billionaire in Europe. In 2010 he missed every one of the 51 Verkhovna Rada meetings.

Were she not among them, Ms. Tymoshenko would have a point about the rich in Ukraine; the capital controlled by the top 50 wealthy Ukrainians would finance the state budget for two years, and comprises 85% of Ukraine’s annual GDP. Thus, although the USA is an energetic cheerleader for NATO membership for Ukraine, the EU is less so. That’s not because they don’t like Ukrainians, who are among the friendliest and most hardworking people in the world. It’s because Europe needs a large, poor neighbour like it needs a chocolate teapot. And make no mistake – Ukraine’s finances are a mess. The economy imploded on Yushchenko’s and Tymoshenko’s watch. You could argue the whole world’s economy walked off the edge of a cliff in 2008, and you’d be right. But I suspect if Yanukovich had been at the helm, he would have gotten little charity from Tymoshenko. Just as the abrupt change from negative to positive in real GDP growth year-over-year as soon as Yanukovich took over, as well as the positive effect of real income growth, could be spun as just something that was going to happen anyway. Yanukovich just happened to be the lucky guy in charge when things started to go from bad to better – you can make statistics say anything you want. But it’d be hard to make a case that Ms. Tymoshenko’s education in economics served Ukraine in any meaningful or constructive way. In fact, in a report prepared for the U.K.’s Conflict Studies Research Centre, James Sherr argued that Ms. Tymoshenko’s 2005 increase in public-sector salaries by more than 56% “flew in the face of economic reality”. Mr Sherr also suggested Ms. Tymoshenko “is not averse to confrontation, and seems determined to exercise authority without limit”. If you were wondering what a Tymoshenko presidency might look like, Ukraine, there’s a preview that ought to scare you sober.

All right – she’s a hypocrite about wealth and power, and a shameless co-opter of popular movements for personal chest-thumping. But you can’t say Ms. Tymoshenko isn’t a tigress where it comes to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence from the grasping talons of its greedy neighbour, Russia.

Actually, you can. Before entering cabinet for the first time,  and despite energetic opposition to the use of the Russian language since, Ms. Tymoshenko spoke Russian, and did not know Ukrainian. There are suggestions that her mother’s family name, Telgina, is probably Russian. One of the most controversial decisions made by the Ukrainian government, the extension of Russia’s lease to base its warships in the Crimea at Sevastopol – one which Ms. Tymoshenko railed against, calling Mr. Yanukovich “Moscow’s puppet” and angrily accusing him of selling out Ukraine’s national interests – turns out to have been Ms. Tymoshenko’s suggestion in the first place, according to Ukrainskye Radio. The two apparently could not come to an agreement on financial details. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov reported the 2010 conversation between Mr. Putin and Ms. Tymoshenko was recorded, and that he intended to ask Mr. Putin to make the recordings public.

In the days leading up to the delirium and hope-on-steroids of the Orange revolution, Ms. Tymoshenko acquired a worldwide reputation for “fiery rhetoric”. The trouble with rhetoric is that it doesn’t need anything to back it up – and often doesn’t have it. “The Revolution Betrayed” is just more empty – but fiery –  rhetoric.

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104 Responses to Yulia Tymoshenko Leaps Aboard the Egyptian Bandwagon

  1. PvMikhail says:

    Privet everyone, I am new here, but I have followed this blog for a while on daily basis. I decided to write, because I like the regular guests here (I follow A Karlin’s blog too). I live in Hungary and I am interested in Russian history, politics. I am an engineer student, I am doing this out of hobby, so please don’t be too hard on me😀

    • marknesop says:

      Privet, Mikhail, and welcome! I don’t know that anyone here is particularly confrontational, so you should have an easy time of it, and your viewpoint is as valuable as any other.

  2. PvMikhail says:

    I think it is hopeless to waste time on Timoshenko, she clearly a hardcore demagogue. The sad fact is, that from 1991 I haven’t seen a single Ukrainian politician in charge who would be more or less free from this sickness. It seems to me, that the worst of 90’s hasn’t ended in Ukraine yet. Demagogue politicians, power struggle, strong oligarchs with political ambitions, brutal economic mismanagement.
    Timoshenko plays the role of an absolutely obstructive opposition (which is not fully alien for me, Hungary is also brutal in this respect), it doesn’t count what she says, because the only thing she can do is denouncing the government and pledge the opposite. I don’t understand who can believe anything coming from her. I am eager to see her behind the bars, where she belongs, for mismanagement and embezzlement, but I think WP, FT and “open democracy” NGOs would make another Khodorkovskiy out of her, “prisoner of conscience” and “democracy-martyr”. That’s what Yanukovich can’t afford for himself, because in my understanding, on the foreign political front he would like to keep good relations with everybody (kowtow a little bit to everyone). As for now, Timoshenko barks all the time at every forum, but nobody cares, especially Ukrainian people. She wants to catch the attention of Washington and sell herself as a model anti-Russian puppet, which is a failed attempt because (in this respect, nobody can kick war-hero Mikheil Nikolodze Suckassvili’s ass :D) she has an awful history of changing sides and no master likes that. If one looks back in time, can see that her involvement in the orange-mess in 2004 is clearly a strategy to seize power in the country. Since then she sided with anybody to accept her goal. Yuschenko is simply an ideological freak, hate monger, but Yulka wants Ukraine’s whole economy and population to work for her. Democracy is a meaningless word for her (as for everybody in the FSU and beyond) as she clearly would like to rule with iron fist. She joined him to win the insanes in Galitsiya (who don’t care about economy, anything except their sick view of history about global conspiration lead by evil Muscovy against them). When it became clear that she can’t remove Yuschenko and replace him as supreme leader, she started to tease the easterners with verbal attacks against the ultranationalists and to forge ties with Russia. In the end, the country had two different foreign policy amid gas wars, one lead by presidental administration, and one by the government. That’s just one example that how serious she is about the moral lecturing of POR government on the “nationalism” question.
    On the oligarchy question: point on a mainstream Ukrainian party (aside Communist Party) which is not sponsored by some shady faces with billions of grivyas in their pocket and serious economic interests in their minds.
    BTW I can’t understand how can anybody denounce its own mother-tongue and roots, that shows the person’s readiness to sell his/her own mother for some dozen of dollars…

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t find anything much to argue with there – you seem pretty politically savvy for an engineer! Yes, you’re right that Tymoshenko reflexively opposes everything Yanukovich wants to do; the initiative to send peacekeepers to Ivory Coast is an instructive example. The whole point of her argument was to make sure everyone heard Yanukovich had never served in the military, nor had his sons, and that he could never feel a mother’s grief because he isn’t a woman, while she is. It’s just playing to the gallery, trying to pick up votes among women and military patriots. She certainly doesn’t care anything about the peacekeepers themselves, although she’ll probably keep an eye on them in case one or more dies, so she can make a big fuss about Yanukovich sending him to his death – maybe visit the mother with the press in tow, and weep with her.

      I never got much of a feel for Yushenko while he was in charge – I never got a sense he was an “ideological freak”; more that he liked the idea of being the top dog, but didn’t really know anything about running a country. I personally think he might have done it a lot better if he hadn’t had to dedicate so much governing time to reining in Tymoshenko’s crazy ambition and power trips. He didn’t seem to relish the limelight as much as Tymoshenko, although he did take a lot of foreign trips. I kind of stopped paying attention to him after he won in the Orange Revolution, and he didn’t do much to attract it.

      Unfortunately, the west loves Tymoshenko; that power-woman aggression thing is very hot in 2011, and she’s got it all. She’s rich, unprincipled, owes her loyalty to whoever can do the most for her, is a reasonably inspirational public speaker and hates Russia. Or pretends to until they make her a better offer.

      • PvMikhail says:

        Just to explain the expression “ideological freak”: Maybe Yuschenko was valuable as a central banker, but as a general politician he sucks big time. His presidency was marked with series of ideological decisions, maybe you remember his last and most idiotic decision: to whitewash Bandera and his organization. Maybe this did him some good, because the insane Galitsians will consider him as eternal leader even over Tyagnibok. However in turn he lost his ground in all the other places in Ukraina and abroad. Poland has a natural interest to destabilize Ukraina as it is the place of its historical power projection, so they supported orangees with hard words and hard currency. But after this stunt, even Poland was furious, and a fellow hardcore Muscovy-basher (who deceased ironically there – rip😦 lets cry together…) was outraged and called for reversal. All in all, with this decision Viktor Andreyevich (sorry galitsians: Andriyovych) Yuschenko lost all his chances to be elected in any responsible political position in a country called Ukraina.
        Yuschenko’s real problem is that he doesn’t know the word: pragmatism. In my understanding, pragmatism is the most important thing in modern politics, because nowadays the world is moving forward by commerce, economy and not national and religious wars (at least this is what the mainstream media, movies and ‘intelligent’ talk shows advertise all the time). I just “don’t understand” the western commentators resistance against Yanukovich, because he is a pragmatic politician, just like Tusk in Poland (compared to PiS people) but even less committed. In foreign policy he speaks nicely to everybody, but I don’t think that he will do anything for anybody without a serious price in return and I am hell certain, that he won’t infuriate his neighbors either (with Bandera or gas wars). I don’t really think that he is straightforward pro-Russian, but it is easier to live together with this kind of leaders, that’s for sure.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I remember the controversial canonization of Stephen Bandera – Misha mentions it often, and I know it was a huge sore point outside Ukraine – and inside it, to a substantial extent. It was, indeed, a foolish thing to do, and I can’t imagine what possessed Yushenko.

          The Poland angle is extremely interesting; I was completely unaware of it, and there’s a general tendency not to think of Poland as much of a mover and shaker in European intrigues.

          You’re right about pragmatism, unfortunately. I say “unfortunately”, because it advertises that everything is for sale to the highest bidder. I was fond of idealism, but it has always been too unstable and too easily corrupted; the clever can turn the idealist against himself without his even realizing. Sometimes pragmatists also manage to get a better deal for their subjects as well as themselves, although I’m sure it’s purely accidental. In Ukraine’s case, being a serious trade partner with the same nation that supplies 80% of its oil and gas, under circumstances whereby only a third of the population is stoked about Ukraine joining NATO, seems like a pretty easy decision to me.

          • Misha says:

            Mark, during the so-called “Orange Revolution,” a Polish presence was quite evident in Ukraine as well as outside of it.

            Historically, Poland has a presence in Ukraine. It’s inaccurate to liken it to Russia’s, due to the differences of the overall relationship between Ukraine-Poland and Ukraine-Russia. The latter pairing have a good deal more in common with each other.

            I recall a CSPAN televised gathering of people of Ukrainian background not known for being pro-Russian – which included the high profile presence of Brzezinski and Sikorski.

            During the so called-Orange Revolution in Kiev, I recall seeing (on TV and also noted to me by some people I know who were in that city at the time) numerous Polish flags minus any Russian ones. Since when is Poland actually more popular in Ukraine than Russia? In addition to the Polish flags, were the flags of Yugoslavia, post-Soviet/pre-Lukashenko presidency Belarus and Saakashvili era presidency Georgia. Note the Western neolib to neocon enthusiasm for change in Yugoslavia, Belarus and Georgia.

            I’ve no special desire to support Milosevic, Lukashenko and Shevardnadze. A related issue I’ve concerns the kind of government/society that’s put in place upon their leaving office. This thought leads to what happened in Ukraine during Yushchenko’s presidency.

            Some of the not so Russia friendly crowd among Ukrainians as well as others appear to make Viktor Yushchenko a kind of fall guy – suggesting that his core views are okay, unlike the person (Yushchenko), who was at the top reflecting them. Such manner is a diversion from facing reality.

            – Arbitrary granting of a Soviet like official “Hero” status to Stepan Bandera – more of a regional figure and a problematical one at that (re: http://www.eurasianhome.org/xml/t/expert.xml?lang=en&nic=expert&pid=2355 )

            – Favoring one independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as opposed to a more practical free to choose route

            – Seeking Ukraine in NATO ASAP (not supported by most Ukrainians) and without a referendum

            – Continued de-emphasis of the Russian language, which by the standards of some other multi-lingual nations qualifies as an official language

            – Unwillingness to consider renegotiating a continued Russian naval stay in Crimea.

            As previously noted (pardon some other repeated thoughts, which are done to constructively hit home on key particulars):

            Viktor Yanukovych doesn’t favor Ukraine joining NATO or CSTO, while favoring close Ukrainian ties with Russia and the West. Yanukovych doesn’t support recognizing the independence of any of the disputed former Communist bloc territories. Yanukovych leans towards favoring a regional free to choose position on Russian language use in Ukraine.

          • grafomanka says:

            The Poland angle is extremely interesting; I was completely unaware of it, and there’s a general tendency not to think of Poland as much of a mover and shaker in European intrigues.

            Yeah Poland never gets any publicity, but actually it’s Poland that leads the really strong anti-Lukashenka campaign now, Poland that was in Moldova after the elections to block a formation of a ‘Russian friendly’ government.

            Poland want’s to get Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova into EU (if not NATO) I think we will see more of that seeing how Polish EU presidency is approaching (tho now it’s quite clear that there’s no money in EU budget for Ukraine, so I think they will concentrate on Moldova).

            Obviously Poland is doing this so as to create a buffer zone between Pl and Russia/not let Russia reasserts itself into post-soviet sphere.
            Sikorsky is pursuing this policy consistently.

            • Misha says:

              For historical and cultural reasons, Moldova isn’t as big a deal for Poland as Belarus and Ukraine.

              A good number of Poles have a soft spot for Lwow/Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg and there’s a noticeable Polish minority in Belarus.

              Moldova has the rap of being Europe’s poorest country. There’re several other countries that are said to be ahead of Moldova for EU consideration.

              At this stage, I’m not so sure how great Poland at large seeks to risk jeopardizing improved relations with Russia. Among Poles, I suspect there will continue to be a Russia unfriendly grouping, along with more pragmatic and Russophile elements. (I periodically come across the latter.)

            • PvMikhail says:

              Buffer zone against Russia… of course. Sikorsky is a hardcore neocon, thats for sure. In my opinion Poland simply has “imperial ambitions” and wants to dominate its former sphere of influence. Poland always had a sly method to present themselves as victims and we forget, that when they were the ultimate power in Eastern Europe, they were no more generous to anyone. The only problem is, that White Russia and Ukraina has nothing to do with Poland culturally, only politically. Oh sorry CNN, I know that in Eastern Europe only Russia can have any imperial ambitions… Poland and Romania not.🙂 (though Romania is more like Balkans than East-Eu)
              BTW Romania is the one who wants to absorb Moldova and northern Bukovina, the 2009 hooliganism in Kishinev were sponsored by Romanian ultranationalists aided by the government. Ghimpu is their man.

              • Misha says:

                The comments about Romania remind me of this Socoresque bias at “state news agency” RIA Novosti:

                http://en.rian.ru/world/20110209/162526928.html

                “Pro-Russian hardliners,” without any characterization of non-Russian ultra-nationalists from Moldova and Romania, who favored attacking Pridnestrovie. (Transnistira and closely related spellings.)

                At times, Russian mass media is influenced by some prevalent trends in English language mass media.

              • Misha says:

                Touching on a point raised in this thread concerning the recent election in Moldova:

                The Trouble on the Prut
                http://www.aminuk.org/index.php?idmenu=12&idsubmenu=202&language=en

                Excerpt:

                “It would have been undiplomatic for Gryshchenko to say so, but Ukraine’s primary interests on its southwestern border are the maintenance of an open-ended status quo in Pridniestrovie, the encouragement of Moldova’s equidistance in relation to the West and Russia, and a more effective countering of the Romanian nationalist agitation in Kishinev, with its inherently irredentist agenda vis-à-vis Ukraine. Kiev’s short-term interest should be an end of foreign interference in Moldova’s domestic politics – which clearly seeks to produce an outcome conducive to Romania’s, and thus detrimental to Ukraine’s interests.

                That interference – apparently an American-EU joint venture – started a mere two days after the Moldovan parliamentary election on November 28, with a joint statement by Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, and Stefan Füle, the commissioner for enlargement, claiming that the success of the three-party Alliance for European Integration gave Moldova ‘an opportunity to consolidate political stability.’ It did nothing of the kind, but the ensuing political stalemate could have been ended with a coalition between Vladimir Voronin’s Communists and the Democratic Party headed by Marian Lupu. This scenario, encouraged by Moscow, was effectively torpedoed by a string of foreign visitors, however, starting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski, and culminating on December 21 with a visit by Germany’s deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer.In short, Moldova remains a neo-Cold-War playground. Russia and her Western partners may have pretended to be singing from the same sheet at NATO’s Lisbon summit last November, or at Davos last January, but between the Prut and the Bug their geopolitical rivalry remains as lively as it had been in Central Europe forty years ago.

                In recent days Western preferences in Moldova’s domestic politics have been stated with unprecedented bluntness. On February 5, Bruce Jackson, head of the Washington-based Project on Transitional Democracies – a pro-NATO quasi-NGO – declared in Kishinev that Moldova missed a big opportunity in the 1990s to emulate the Baltic states in their EU integration and that it should not repeat that mistake. Jackson said the communist governments that ruled Moldova during the previous decade, and especially Vladimir Voronin, ‘turned down many overtures’ from the West and also ‘mismanaged relations with Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.’

                Moscow seems to have had enough of such nonsense. On February 3 Russia accused the European Union, the United States and Romania of ‘pressuring Moldova’s political processes in an attempt to draw the state towards their area of influence.’ Russia’s Ambassador in Kishinev, Valeri Kuzmin, said that during the Moldovan election campaign Russia adopted a ‘politically correct attitude, as the practice of international relations requests it,’ in contrast to Washington, Brussels and Bucharest. It was not reciprocated, he complained, by the Western partners. Interestingly, two days earlier Kuzmin hinted that Moscow would grant Moldova a price discount on Russian gas, as it granted one to Ukraine, in return for military basing rights. ‘The political dimension can be turned into an economic equivalent,’ Kuzmin said, pointing out the agreement with Ukraine on cheaper gas in return for the Black Sea Fleet base. “Moldova also has such opportunities… We are open for discussions. ‘Kuzmin’s statements indicate Russia’s sudden determination to counter Western interference in Moldova with its own counter-strategy.

                ****

                A good portion of the following article answers a neoliberal Moscow Times commentary seeking a Western military role in Pridnestrovie:

                http://www.eurasiareview.com/old/analysis/analysis/8309-the-future-of-russia-nato-relations

                The MT only offers that article on a fee basis. Here’s that article which was picked up by a Moldovan venue:

                http://www.azi.md/en/story/13277

        • Misha says:

          Concerning Russia and Russian issues in Ukraine, I sense that Yanukovych might not turn out to be such a back-tracker as Kuchma. Time will tell in better establishing the validity of that thought.

          Yanukovych’s presidency over-turned the arbitrary “Hero” status accorded by Yushchenko to Bandera.

          The best way for Ukraine to stay together within its Soviet drawn boundaries is by following a pragmatic policy of good relations with Russia and the West.

          Russia has also sought good relations with the West. So, it’s not like Ukraine is seeking something which is very out of line from Russia.

          • marknesop says:

            “The best way for Ukraine to stay together within its Soviet drawn boundaries is by following a pragmatic policy of good relations with Russia and the West.”

            And the best way for a Ukraine that encompasses everything within its Soviet-drawn boundaries to get into the EU is to sort out its financial mess and present the EU with a country that is viable and healthy. To do that, it will have to acknowledge it is – at present – more corrupt than Russia and has a worse oligarch problem, and then take steps to redress the situation. Otherwise all the EU will see is a monstrous tottering bloodsucker that is going to bleed it dry trying to get on its feet. It doesn’t need to be that way, and a firm hand could straighten things out in, say, 5 years… if the rest of the political apparatus would play along. Pampered spoilers like Tymoshenko make me doubt it.

            • Misha says:

              It’s a mistake for Ukraine and others like Moldova, Croatia and Serbia to hedge a bet by putting all their eggs in one basket (EU membership).

              In these former Communist lands, there’re signs of an enhanced understanding of this point. The EU has a good deal of problems, with doubt on how soon and how well it can take in new members with full EU benefits.

              • marknesop says:

                Here’s a site that acted as a referrer for some of my hits. From it, here’s the only article on the first screen that’s in English. Quite a few of the sites that have picked it up are, unsurprisingly, Ukrainian. Of those, a few probably don’t – judging from the “Yanukovich is a bastard” tone of their material – like it much, although there have been no comments to that effect so far. Anyway, I found the BNE article interesting. In my limited experience with BNE, I like them; I used one of their articles some time ago as substantiation for optimism about Russia’s finances and growth. Anyway, “Ukraine’s Two-Faced President” isn’t as uniformly negative as the title would suggest. In fact, it reinforces the image of Yanukovich as (a) a pragmatist, and (b) the anti-ideologue. It suggests he merely pays lip service to the notion of joining the EU so people won’t bother him about it, but isn’t really interested. Nor is he, apparently, overanxious to bring Ukraine back into Moscow’s orbit. However, the real hook is the closing line – that Yanukovich intends Ukraine to serve as “a bridge between Russia and the EU”. If so, that’s probably a smart strategy, offering the most trade opportunities for all concerned.

                I don’t think the EU could afford to take on Ukraine right now – they’re already staggering from bailouts.

                • Misha says:

                  Yes, I saw it there as well as at InoSMI. Congrats!

                  IMO, one reason Yanuk hasn’t been as outgoing of late in supporting Ukrainian EU membership is because he knows that’s not likely to happen in the near future, if at all.

                  On another point, Russia and individual Western countries don’t need a Ukrainian middle man. That thought seems to be motivated by the notion of seeking to stress Ukraine’s importance. Ukraine is important. However, there’re limitations on the purpose for Ukraine to serve as a “bridge,” as suggested by some.

                  Granted, there’s a bridge factor evident as a gas supply route.

                • marknesop says:

                  I tend to equate it as a “bridge” in more figurative terms; a go-between for both Russia and the West to discuss matters they will not discuss directly between themselves. Maybe this is unnecessary, but the continuing hostility between the two suggests Ukraine could play that sort of role. It also suggests Yanukovich would be a much better choice for that than Tymoshenko, who would try to use sensitive information for her own political gain and appears to have no loyalties except to herself.

  3. Misha says:

    Tymoshenko has a track record of politically jumping in a contradictory manner.

    She makes noise since her standing seems limited in Ukraine. Contrast that situation with how Yanukovych was able to bounce back within a short period of time. There were two reasons for that occurrence.

    – The Blue side isn’t the overly negative entity as claimed by some

    – The Orange side exhibited flaws which couldn’t get covered up.

    Yushchenko is a committed believer to some faulty views, whereas Tymoshenko dances a populist line with Machiavellian intentions. It’s no surprise that the latter jumps on the situation in Egypt.

    For those thinking that there was an overly one-sided fraud against the Orange side in 2004, consider these sources:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/nagle12242004.html

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yRMdkdLneBcJ:www.public-integrity.org/articles/publications70.htm+Rachel+Ehrenfeld+Front+Page+magazine+election+Ukraine&cd=5&

    These views conform with what was communicated to me by trusted sources who were on the ground in Kiev at the time. From afar, I sensed the same, along with Ukrainian born friends and acquaintances of mine in the US.

    During the period in question, I recall a poll of Chicago’s Ukrainian population which said that 90% of them backed Yushchenko. If I correctly recall, Yanukovych received over 40% of the vote in the election, that resulted in Yushchenko becoming president.

    In Western mass media, there continues to be a disconnect with a minority Ukrainian political perspective getting the upper hand. As consultants, the BBC has utilized Taras Kuzio and someone else of Ukrainian background whose name currently escapes me (He has a media background.) The BBC has also used Andrew Wilson, who isn’t as biased, while leaning more in the Kuzio direction, when compared to how most Ukrainians see things.

    On that last point, refer to:

    http://grahamstack.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/would-the-real-ukraine-please-stand-up/
    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/59865/

    Ready to kick some serious as in the most high profile of situations.

    BET!

    • Misha says:

      A follow-up on Wilson:

      I got hold of his book on Ukraine, where he makes the Ukraine to Russia and Scotland to England comparison (something I did years prior). In doing so, he presents Scotland having greater clearance from England in contrast to Ukraine’s relationship with Russia. When expressing this thought, he doesn’t note how Russians and Ukrainians are more closely related than Scots and English.

    • Misha says:

      Pardon misspell at the end of my initial set of comments.

      What Yalensis said below on how Yushchenko thought of Tymoshenko (siding with Russia) relates well to the observation that Yushchenko has a committed though misguided set of views – whereas Tymoshenko has been more inclined to take a populist route, with a Machiavellian mindset.

      • marknesop says:

        That was my take on Yushenko as well – that he probably genuinely meant to do a good job, but just had no idea how to go about it. This is often true of the west’s picks; charismatic or possessing some quality that is sufficient to capture the people’s imaginations (in Yushenko’s case, his well-timed poisoning), but otherwise inept or overly idealistic. With care, they can be managed in a manner that serves western interests, but it blows up in their faces as often as it is successful. Saakashvili is a good example; so idealistic and eager to serve western masters that he impulsively kicked over the apple-cart too early, and blew everything.

        The tragedy, looking once more at Yushenko, was that Tymoshenko could have been instrumental to his success rather than his failure. The west was ready to bankroll Ukraine into lucrative trade deals, and to accelerate NATO membership based simply on good behavior – the record shows this. More than any other single person, Tymoshenko screwed Yushenko with her constant power games and maneuvering for advantage. I’m glad her star has fallen, because she would be a nightmare leader for Ukraine. Yanukovich isn’t perfect, but he’s much better than Yushenko, and in a completely different class from Tymoshenko.

        • Misha says:

          A case can be made that Yanukovych shows more independence from foreign influence than Yushchenko.

          Yushchenko as president sought putting Ukraine into NATO ASAP (an unpopular move in Ukraine), whereas Yanukovych favors Ukraine staying out of CSTO and NATO. Yushchenko ruled out any chance of a new lease for the Russian navy in Crimea, unlike Yanukovych, who expressed openness at such a possibility, which occurred – with some not so pro-Russian observers believing that Ukraine might’ve gotten the better of the deal – a time will tell matter.

  4. Yalensis says:

    @PvMikhail: Privet, thanks for comments, you made a lot of good points and obviously are very knowledgeable about subject matter 🙂

    For me, a lot of charm of Ukrainian politics is just how very funny it is (in a surrealistic way). I realize, not so funny for those average Ukrainians who have to live in this broken system, but if you forget about them for a minute and pretend you are watching a movie, then it can be very funny, at just a human level.
    My favorite moments during Tymoshenko premiership was her constant feuding with Yushchenko, and her flirting with Putin. Putin seems to actually like Tymoshenko (maybe attracted to her; well, she is a stunning statuesque woman, almost like a Walkurie, with that big blonde braid…) and there are several you-tube videos showing the two of them together; and Tymoshenko clearly flirts with this “Proud KGB Colonel”, as La Russophobe likes to call him; and giggles at his jokes. First example shows Putin making fun of Yushchenko and Saakashvili who were meeting for lunch that day while he (Putin) was meeting with Yulia. Second clip shows Putin making fun of Yushchenko, calling him “Mazurko”. In both cases, Yulia giggles at his jokes; and this caused big scandal, because Yushchenko was furious with her for collaborating with “enemy”, and laughing at his mocking jokes.


    • PvMikhail says:

      @yalensis

      Look, I also see the bright side of this comedy, but for me it is overshadowed the fact that Ukraina is dying and has a dark future, unless Yanukovich (or anybody who has an idea about leading a group of people + has the ability and will to look to the future) fix it for better.
      I have countless videos about CIS politicians who alleged crazy or funny things, my all-time favorite is Zhirik. Whatever presses Volodya Volfovich’s chest, he always lets it out…
      watch this, or search up the classic with young Nemtsov being the bad guy

      Back to Timoshenko: yeah, fortunately for Russia, Putin is cold as ice and competent enough to negotiate with this heavy bomber (they look just fine together), If I were Russia’s negotiator she would easily convinced me to give her n. gaz for 1 ruble (or else) for cubic meter.🙂😀 She’s age is way more than twice of mine, but she’s hot!
      But this don’t change my opinion, that Ukraina should throw him out as a politician and even better, behind the bars. Destroy her or she destroys Ukraina.

      Vladimir and Yuliya:

  5. grafomanka says:

    “The Revolution Betrayed” reminds readers that Ms. Tymoshenko is someone who has led a peaceful revolution.

    Somehow my mind just refuses to equate Tymoshenko in her Luis Vitton attire with ‘revoultion’

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!! Yes, I know what you mean; it reminds me of George W. Bush’s speech, in which he said something about “people like us” when he was talking about people who were having a tough time making ends meet due to taxes and other things, probably arguing for his tax cuts. He’s a millionaire, with nothing to worry about financially. But the amazing thing is that there are always people who will buy it, and think, “She’s just like me!!” I didn’t mention it in the post because I thought it’d come across as a cheap shot, but where Tymoshenko lives is a nice example. She is alleged to have once said she would not live in housing provided by the state as her position entitled her to do, coming off like the noble martyr – but she apparently lives on this ritzy estate that some rich friends let her use for free.

      We have our own examples, on a smaller scale – like former Reform Party Member of Parliament Deborah Grey. She used to rail against the “gold-plated” pension plan for MP’s, in which for every dollar a MP contributes, the taxpayer kicks in about four dollars. She liked to refer to those who participated in the plan as “pigs”, and call them out with “oink, oink” in her speeches. She very publicly and noisily opted out of the plan, then very quietly bought back in just before resigning, not daring to face the electorate again. Of course, she wasn’t fabulously wealthy like Bush and Tymoshenko, but the hypocrisy is just as funny.

      • PvMikhail says:

        I would like to see that “rich friends” and their taxation methods. I think they are not from Dnepropetrovsk oblast, don’t evade taxes, they didn’t get rich under or after the perestroika, and they don’t finance Fatherland party to get economic, political, judicial free hand. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows…

    • Yalensis says:

      @ grafomanka and @pvMikhail: Re. Yulia’s Luis Vitton elegant black dress. That clip shows Yulia and her “proud KGB Colonel” reporting to the press on the gas deal they have just reached, after hours of strenuous negotiations behind closed doors. They both appear subdued and even a little dazed. At the end of the clip, when they turn around and walk away – is it just my imagination, or is her zipper partly down? 🙂

  6. sinotibetan says:

    Mark,
    “And the best way for a Ukraine that encompasses everything within its Soviet-drawn boundaries to get into the EU is to sort out its financial mess and present the EU with a country that is viable and healthy. ”
    “Otherwise all the EU will see is a monstrous tottering bloodsucker that is going to bleed it dry trying to get on its feet.”
    Interesting views. I don’t have any liking for the EU- I consider the EU a political monster designed by Pan-European Ferals(oh…I meant Federalists) who have lust for superpower status – a United States of Europe to rival and challenge the USA(its ‘benefactor’), other rivals like China, and Russia(actually I suspect they are keen on reducing Russia to a weakened, vassal state to rape its precious raw material and commodities cheap…; Western preoccupation with Russia’s ‘iminent demographic collapse’ is not science but actually a Freudian slip of what they actually crave for, I suspect!). If I were a European, those Ferals would have called me a Euroseptic(I meant, Euroskeptic). I believe in the independence and interdependence of nations, not the (gradual but sure) loss of national sovereignty of all states within the EU. Ukraine considered a ‘political monster’ by the EU is rather ironic to me.
    Regarding Polish designs – interesting! I thought Poland was once a great power in Eastern Europe, once even united with Lithuania during the Jagiellonian Dynasty and once ruled parts of Belarus and Ukraine as well. Are Polish political elites hankering to that part of their history and are ‘using’ the EU to project this ? Or it’s mostly enmity towards Russia? Whatever it is, surely Russia will not let Poland off so easily if they want to ‘increase their influence’ on those states.

    sinotibetan

    • rkka says:

      “And the best way for a Ukraine that encompasses everything within its Soviet-drawn boundaries to get into the EU is to sort out its financial mess and present the EU with a country that is viable and healthy. ”

      Unfortunately, this is pretty much impossible, as I will explain below.

      “Otherwise all the EU will see is a monstrous tottering bloodsucker that is going to bleed it dry trying to get on its feet.”

      Unelegantly put, but that is what Ukraine is.

      I recall a book from the American Academy of Sciences comparing the cases of Belarus and Ukrains. Summarizing, Ukrainian elites in the late 1980s looked at the Soviet price system, observed that Ukraine was subsidizing the rest of the USSR, and concluded that an independent Ukraine would do very well indeed.

      Then, too late, they discovered global market prices for raw materials and energy. Oops! By that price system, Russia had always heavily subsidized Ukraine, and that was the one Ukraine would have to live with going forward.

      Even with a substantial gas subsidy from Russia before the lunatic Yushchenko took power, that circle was impossible for the Ukrainian elite to square. Sane Yanuk has done a smart thing getting a gas subsidy back, but its clearly not enough.

      By contrast, the Belarusian elite have never deluded themselves that they are anything other than a dependency of Russia, and the Belarus people have clearly enjoyed benefits due to this wisdom. The population decline in Belarus since 1991 on a percentage basis is about half that of Ukraine.

      But the West aren’t really interested in hearing about how catastrophic their policy demands are for the people who have to live (or not…) with them.

    • PvMikhail says:

      @shinotibetan: agreed on the polish thing.
      I live in the EU as a Hungarian national, but I am also skeptical about EU. It has its advantages, but it also take away a lot. Every country has to transform their laws and rules to meet with EU demand, they criticize our own economic policies, and lately they want to change our inner methods and customs. EU combined with an incompetent kowtowing national government has been a curse for a country like Hungary until now. If any country would like to benefit from membership, must stand up for its rights and interests very strongly. For example, EU membership ruined our agriculture. We have more and more foreign products on our shelves, when Hungarian agricultural products has a good reputation because of their high quality. (Hungarian grain>>>>Polish grain, I tried) EU has a problem with overproduction in agricultural goods, so I don’t think that anybody would benefit from Ukraine’s membership, except policymakers who serve american supremacist interests.

      @Misha
      The only problem with this bridge thing, as you said, that nobody needs Ukraina in EU- Russia commercial relationship. And in any other respects, nobody cares about Ukraina except Russia. Russians see Ukraina as brothers or don’t even see any difference between the two nations at all. I don’t think it matters to them If one comes from Lipetsk, Krasnodar or Donetsk, Lugansk, same blood. EU wants it to be a consumer market for their products and military buffer to against Russia. US wants it to be a political and military vassal to blackmail Russia and forever push it out from international arena.

      • rkka says:

        I entirely agree, except for this:

        “Russians see Ukraina as brothers or don’t even see any difference between the two nations at all. I don’t think it matters to them If one comes from Lipetsk, Krasnodar or Donetsk, Lugansk, same blood.”

        The idea of uniting Russia and Ukraine is actually much more popular in Ukraine than in Russia. Public opinion polling in both countries show that the idea has ~25% support in Ukraine, but only about 12% support in Russia. Russians seem to understand that re-acquiring Ukraine would be an expensive proposition indeed, and are quite clear that they do not want the burden.

        • Misha says:

          Ethnically and linguistically, Russia and Ukraine are closer to each other than England and Scotland. The ancestors of Russians and Ukrainians comprised the state of Rus, at a time when there were no “Russian” and “Ukrainian” points of difference.

          The polls in question regarding Ukrainian views of Russia:

          http://grahamstack.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/would-the-real-ukraine-please-stand-up/

          http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/59865/

          The first link notes “surprise” of positive Ukrainian attitudes towards Russia, without being critical of the Western mass media coverage downplaying that reality.

          On the other hand, note the direct criticism of Russian media, which doesn’t acknowledge two factors concerning Yushchenko era Ukraine’s unpopularity in Russia.

          – the reasoned basis for such a view

          – how quickly Yushchenko became unpopular in Ukraine.

    • rkka says:

      “Western preoccupation with Russia’s ‘iminent demographic collapse’ is not science but actually a Freudian slip of what they actually crave for, I suspect!)”

      I suspect this is true. Notice that the Anglosphere punditocracy say nothing about the far worse population declines and demographic situations in Ukraine and the Baltics. In Latvia, the number of births, low since 1992, has declined by 20% since 2008 due to the global financial collapse and the ferocious budget and wage cuts the Latvian government have imposed in response to it. Deaths now exceed births there by 3:2, and yet the Wall Street Journal holds Latvia up as an example for other heavily indebted nations to follow.

      It is my suspicion that the Anglosphere punditocracy care not how, or even whether, the people of the ex-USSR live, only that their governments submit. Their entire problem with Putin and Lukashenko, and their growing problem with Yanukovych, is that they do not submit.

      • Misha says:

        This is how the West dealt with Milosevic. There was a decline in Western negativity about him when he played ball at Dayton and for a brief period thereafter – at a time when he faced noticeable opposition in Serbia.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, I actually meant “monstrous” in the context of its physical size and population, therefore the drain it would be on the EU in terms of its current woeful financial state. I believe Ukraine has great potential; however, it’s a little bit of an embarrassment to the EU right now, because it makes it difficult for the EU to praise and coddle Ukraine while sneering at Russia, without having to acknowledge that Ukraines’s problems are due to even worse corruption and cronyism than Russia’s. If Ukraine as a friend and partner would be desirable, then it would be difficult to rationalize Russia as not being equally or more desirable without admitting to a simple hatred of Russia, and no other good reason.

      I agree the EU was developed as a counterweight to American power and influence: I also agree the gradual blurring of national identity and culture is the inevitable result of greater closeness between member states, which is unfortunate, because I love the old-worldliness of Europe. For whatever reason, both the west and the EU are fond of predicting Russia’s iminent collapse – sort of a hobby for them, I guess, since they have thus far been abysmally wrong. But it’s the kind of prediction where you will eventually be right, if you live long enough. Nothing lasts forever, and the entire planet will be gone one day; it’s like selecting any random individual and saying, “I predict he will die!”

      I’m afraid my knowledge of Poland, both current and historical, is sadly lacking. I’ll have to brush up. I can see it having been a strong cultural influence, but I didn’t realize they were such meddlers in Eastern-european affairs, it was a surprise to me.

      • Misha says:

        Gogol’s Taras Bulba is a fictional but historic based novel on the Polish subjugation of modern day Ukraine. Russia experienced such as well.

        In more recent times, Poland was a key peripheral player in the Russian Civil War.

        The specifics are at this link:

        http://www.russiablog.org/2009/10/russian-polish-history-averko.php

      • Yalensis says:

        @mark: Polish history is very interesting. My knowledge of it is somewhat limited too, unfortunately, just one semester of basic Polish history in college, plus a couple of books. My father grew up in Poland and spoke Polish fluently, and Polish people helped him very much in his youth, so I do have a soft spot for them, even though they can be a difficult people. Anyhow, the college course in question, we did a quick survey of Polish history. At the time the various Slavic peoples were building their nations, including Muscowy, the Poles were not as successful, because there were so many members of the nobility (szlachta), that they could never agree on a central ruler. The nobles would meet to elect their king, so there was a nascent “democracy” possible (a la Magna Carta); unfortunately, what was really needed at the time was a strong central state to counter strong neighbors (Sweden, Russia).
        I wrote my term paper on the events occurring in 1648, when West Bank Ukraine throw off Polish rule with massive Cossack and popular rebellion. I didn’t focus on Bogdan Khmelnitsky or Cossacks; teacher wanted my term paper to be strictly “Marxist” in tone, so I focused on the revolting-peasant component. My research revealed that events in WESTERN Europe were directly connected to what was going on in Poland-Ukraine (even back then in the days before Twitter – surprise! Surprise!) Here is the executive summary of what happened: industrialization of Western Europe resulted in population increase and urban masses in need of cheap grain. This reflected eastward onto Ukraine where Polish landowners forced many free or half-free peasants back into serfdom and created vast “slave”-type plantations to grow wheat. Historians call this phase the “second serfdom”, because up until then the trend was towards democratization and gradual morphing of serfs into free men, as was happening in Western Europe. This re-enslavement of peasants naturally resulted into mass uprisings against Polish and local “overlords”. Cossack leadership opportunistically took part, only to highjack revolution later and themselves because feudal overlords over these very same plantations; but that’s another story, I have already gone on too long!

        • Misha says:

          Yalensis

          Quite orthodox in the Marxist sense.

          A key factor at play is the matter of the Polish suppression of Orthodox-Christian believers as an occupying power on territory that comprised the predominately Rus state.

          This point served as a motivation behind the 1654 treaty between the Cossacks and Czar.

      • grafomanka says:

        For whatever reason, both the west and the EU are fond of predicting Russia’s imminent collapse – sort of a hobby for them, I guess, since they have thus far been abysmally wrong.

        I wouldn’t say EU is so pessimistic about Russia.
        For once, EU actively tries to ‘compete’ with Russia in post-soviet sphere, through Eastern Partnership program targeted at Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova (encouraging democracy and strengthening economic ties etc) this is where Poland is quite active.
        Besides EU is striving to achieve some kind of common foreign policy towards Russia, which is a blessing to many smaller eastern European countries because it forces big players like Germany or France to take everyone’s situation into account
        (tho it doesn’t work very effectively, since the German -Russian pipeline is being build and France has sold the warships to Russia anyway).

        • cartman says:

          The 800 lb gorilla in the EU is not really Russia, but the United States. Recall back in 2008 – as soon as Slovenia took the EU presidency the agenda turned to recognition of Kosovo. This was well-coordinated with the US State Department, then headed by Condoleeza Rice, because – if it had been one of the larger, Western states like Italy, Spain, France, or Germany – this simply would not have made it on the agenda.

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      I partly agree about the EU. The problems started when the EU overextended not only in a geographical sense, but also in the legal sphere. Too much countries with different traditions and economies bundled by rules that can’t fit everyone.
      But I have to disagree with Poland. They had an empire, like Italy, but currently they’ve not the “qualifications” for a new empire, even less than Italy. It would be much better for them to realize they’re the proverbial pottery piece among iron pieces.

  7. Yalensis says:

    @PvMikhail: Thanks for the Zhirinovsky clip, I hadn’t seen it before, that was precious. Is amazing how this clown escalates rapidly from verbal abuse to physical threats, showing of fists, at the end, off-camera he is beating up the guy and screaming “Shoot him!” and the two anchors sit there all calm and professional, like it’s just another day at the office! I wonder if any other civilized country would tolerate such behavior from their parliamentarians.
    @mark: Re question as to why Yushchenko would do such a crazy thing as to rehabilitate Bandera, I have 2 theories, not necessarily mutually exclusive: 1) as a fanatical ideologue, he was deeply committed to this, and was going to do it, no matter what the political consequences. 2) it was a campaign promise made to the Ukrainian diaspora in USA and Canada. You have mentioned in previous posts, and it is a sorry fact, that this diaspora is overwhelmingly (like 80%) pro-Bandera and anti-Russia. This is the official “Galician” philosophy, and is actively promulgated in diaspora organizations. Orange Revolution came to power with financial and political support from this diaspora.

    • Misha says:

      For a good deal of time, a disproportionate (from their numbers in Ukraine) number of Ukrainians in North America have been from western Ukraine. Another issue are the Ukrainians making the most noise and getting high profile slots over other Ukrainians thinking differently – in a manner not as likely picked up by mass media. Consider the kind of Russian views favored in English language mass media versus their popularity in Russia.

      On Bandera, keep in mind Yushchenko’s wife and what has been said of Yushchenko’s family background:

      http://www.russiablog.org/2006/04/yuschenkos_wife_and_the_ugly_h.php

      http://newsru.com/world/14jan2011/jushenko_oun.html

      Note that post-Soviet “nationalist” Russia hasn’t (at least to my knowledge) decreed any “Hero” statuses to any Russian historical figures.

    • marknesop says:

      You could well be right – it was strongly in the interests of Orange Revolutionaries to obtain recognition for Bandera, for symbolic reasons if for no other. This is an excellent discussion; I am learning a great deal, and am most impressed with the evident grasp of issues on which I know little – especially Ukraine’s position vis-a-vis the EU. Newcomer PvMikhail and rkka seem to have really loosed the cat among the pigeons, and it is fascinating for me.

      • Misha says:

        Within the spectrum of the negative on Russia/Russo-Ukrainian punditry, one can find some non-support of Bandera.

        Someone I know with ties to a “nation building” US think tank told me how the org in question was silent on lauding Bandera at an event featuring that think tank and pro-Bandera Ukrainians.

        • Misha says:

          Last sentence should read as: Someone I know with ties to a “nation building” US think tank told me how the org in question was silent on the lauding Bandera at an event featuring that think tank and pro-Bandera Ukrainians.

      • Yalensis says:

        @mark: Is a testimony to quality of your blog, and that you encourage serious and interesting discussions 🙂

    • PvMikhail says:

      @Yalensis

      Zhirinovsky is RUSSIAN, DIDN’T YOU KNOW?

      he hates if somebody asks him about his jewish father…

    • PvMikhail says:

      oh come ooon, “open democracy”, I have always the same association…
      openDem –> George Soros (this thug claims to be Hungarian by origin, but here I would like to distance myself from him and the likes of him) –> U.S./Israeli NGOs –> neocons interests –> money –> destroy, subordinate Eastern Europe –> rob material and intellectual wealth
      Soros has done more harm to Hungary than any other person during this 20 years.

      BTW Ethan Burger is pathetic. Did you notice the followings:
      “Western Ukraine used to be referred to as “New Russia,” in recognition of the fact that these lands were only added to the Russian Empire through conquest in the 17th and 18th centuries.”
      I am no historian, I am no geopolitical commentator (and a servant of anybody), but I know that “New Russia” (Novorossiya) was the name of the blue part which voted for Yanukovich, not the orange part. The article has more problems, but one of the misleading “facts” are how Ukraine is divided among the 2004 orange-blue line. Because I don’t really consider Kirovograd or even Zhitomir as “Western Ukraina”. Western Ukraine is the region which was ceded to Habsburg-Austria during the partition of Poland 1711-1725. Or at least these territories are the core of present day western Ukraina. Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk (Stanislavov), Volyn, Rovno and Tarnopol oblasts. Even Zakarpattiya (in Hungarian: Kárpátalja) doesn’t belong to this region historically. Zakarpattiya has minorities, like Hungarians, but which is more important: Zakarpattians tend to has Rusyn identity, which started to emerge in the late years and outraged banderists. Most Rusyns would like to get autonomy (some even threatened orangees with independence) and historically more friendly to Muscovy than to their bullying regional neighbors.

      In my opinion, we should not rule out that dividing Ukraine to 3 would solve the turmoil: Novorossiya (In Your Face ethan burger), and Central Ukraina including Kiev would stay independent or return to Russia (as a state or as a region), Rusyns could get the autonomy what they want at Uzhgorod, and Galitsian could finally proclaim their dream, the truly freely true and free “Western-European Democratic Anti-moscal Popular Dissident Republic of Bandera” from Lemberg. How’s that, people?🙂😀

  8. sinotibetan says:

    Wow…interesting comments! I cannot see some of your nicks, so forgive me if I have to address some of you based on your comments! Perhaps something’s wrong with my computer. I sincerely apologize for this.
    @” Their entire problem with Putin and Lukashenko, and their growing problem with Yanukovych, is that they do not submit.”
    Precisely! I agree with you completely. Western obssession with demonizing Putin(they really want to get rid of him because they know Russia will not ‘submit’ to the West if he is in power) and Lukashenko has nothing to do with corruption, authoritharianism, etc. I mean the USA had supported the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein(before they fell foul with America’s designs on other nations) and the various Middle Eastern Potentates(like Hosni Mubarak until the recent uprising; the very authoritharian and very human-rights unfriendly Saudi Arabia government) – all far worse than Putin(who seems like a saint in comparison with them) or even Lukashenko. Why the double standards in America’s(and the EU’s) global moral policeman ‘judgement’? Yes….you are right, Putin and Lukashenko refuses to submit and reduce their countries to mere vassals and ‘yes-men’ to the USA and the EU.
    “But the West aren’t really interested in hearing about how catastrophic their policy demands are for the people who have to live (or not…) with them.”
    Agree again. I come from the Far East. My country and other neighbouring nations were mostly former colonies of Western European powers. I never knew that Western Europeans treat their Eastern European neighbours quite as bad as they treated our nations until I read European history on my own. Sometimes I think Western Europeans’ previous(and present) policies lead other non-European nations to think quite negatively about Europeans’ real political intentions and Eastern Europeans get lumped together into this negative perception due to their current membership in Western political organizations like the EU and/or NATO. I think the people in power in Washington and Brussels care more about their cling to power, prestige and money. Democracy, human rights etc. are smokescreen and their double-standards prove their guilt.
    @”This is how the West dealt with Milosevic.”
    Agree also. His Croatian and Bosnian counterparts got away with similar ‘crimes against humanity’ by the kangaroo court in the Hague. I don’t think Milosevic was innocent but then Tudjman and Izetbegovic were not innocent either. The West basically made sure that Serb nationalism is dismantled and that means to politically destroy Milosevic at all cost. The USA and the core EU hegemenons are perversely anti-(especially European) nationalist.
    @ Mikhail
    “Every country has to transform their laws and rules to meet with EU demand, they criticize our own economic policies, and lately they want to change our inner methods and customs. ”
    Which begs the question, is the EU institution a democratic one even as EU politicians claim the moral higher ground of their supposed ‘we are more democratic’ organizations. I remembered reading stuff from ‘Radio Free Europe” about how the EU using the ‘economic carrots’ to dangle as ‘reward’ for ‘proper behaviour'(i.e. compliance to Brussel’s demands) and economic or political ‘sticks’ to’ punish’ for non-compliance of (at that time) East European states keen to join the EU. Nothing democratic at all on how these Western Europeans haughtily ‘teach’ these nations to follow the lead of the ‘big brother nations’ in the West. Of course, the EU websites and Radio Free Europe speaks all these things in a positive light. My disagreement with the EU is further intended erosion of national distinctiveness and national sovereignty with power concentrated by technocrats in Brussels. Federalism and further political union – the aim of founders of the EEC(precursorsor of the EU) – is something I never agreed on. Also, smaller nations would be in the mercy of hegemenons like Germany, France and the UK if there is complete political union because I am sure these nations would ensure their clout remains very strong. Destiny of many becomes decided by a few – not as democratic as the EU wants people to believe. Also, I believe that EU politicians hide their true intentions(that of one supercountry – a United States of Europe) and I think the average man on the street is not so aware of this. Many Europeans probably(I think) don’t agree with that – but the politicians do this by one treaty after another – revealing only positive aspects but not the serious negative ramifications of each pact signed.
    @ Mark
    “because I love the old-worldliness of Europe.”
    Yes, me too! I am actually a Europhile and a Russophile. I’m sorry to say, I never considered the USA as having a true culture and its ‘civilization’ is ‘merely’ an extension of olde Europe. I have no problem with America wanting to live the way they do. I just dislike us non-Americans being culturally and politically ‘Americanized’. I like us to be distinct, to be different, to be aware of our more ancient roots(mine, the Chinese – 4000 years old!). Perhaps therein my sadness for Europe because they get carried away with this very American “EU” thingy. Perhaps therein lies some of my ‘respect’ for Putin and the Russians because they dare to say ‘Nyet” to this crazy scheme.

    sinotibetan

    • Misha says:

      The revulsion one senses among some Western politicos towards Lukashenko either doesn’t appear evident or as evident with repackaged KLA folks like Thaci.

      Like Lukashenko is worse than them.

      As for “guilt,” there’s little if any attempt to legally go after some Turks vis-a-vis the Kurds. At times, the issue of “guilt” is brought up in a geopolitcally selective way.

      • PvMikhail says:

        Misha, I would like to point out, that Hosni Mubarak has been in power for 30 years, and EU foreign politicians have had no problem with Egyptian elections for that time, so when this unrest broke out, they asked him gently to avoid to use of force against the crowd. This was their maximum punishment. Now… at the same time, they want to f%#k with Lukashenko who served half of that time and want to ban him from EU again. Thats just pathetic.
        BTW I think that Lukashenko’s goodwill can be purchased by hard currency, so I don’t consider him pro-Russian (in everyday politics) either. If he were, the Union State would function properly. However he has no alternative for Russia and White Russia and this is his luck.

        • Misha says:

          PvMikhail

          To a good extent, I see Luka’s differences with Russia as more personal with “Putvedev” than opposing Russia.

          In contrast to Yushchenko’s seeking full recognition of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church that’s not under the Moscow Patriarchate – Luka (to my knowledge) hasn’t supported a Belarusian Orthodox Church that’s separate from the Moscow Patriarchate.

          I understand that Luka once mistakenly referred to himself as Russian president – a seeming Freudian slip if true. This recollection brings to mind Luka’s perception of a union state of two republics (Russia and Belarus), more along the lines of each having a respective amount of governing clout within said entity.

          Given the sgnificant differences in size and influence, such a concept is understandably not going to be accepted in Russia. BTW, the Montenegrin regime under Djukanovic sought that kind of relationship with Serbia – with Belgrade willing to say: see yah!

          In conclusion, Lukashenko simultaneously has Russocentric and personal ambitions, a degree of the Non-aligned Movement bug (that Cold War era created org. is still around, with Belarus as a member), to go along with personal differences with the Russian brass.

          • PvMikhail says:

            I would like to clarify myself: he is not pro-Russian in everyday politics but his sympathy can be purchased. Otherwise in cultural sense he is “pro-Russian” of course, as he keeps everything as it is: White Russia as it is. He don’t want to change it to something which it isn’t, don’t require its citizens to forget speaking their Russian mother tongue from one day to other like Yuschenko. So in my opinion he is simply not anti-Russian, but I can’t call him pro-Russian either, because he don’t recognize Abkhazia, and don’t want to sign any mutual (military or economic) agreement without stuffing his pocket with charity.

            And I think, in the depth of his mind he is pro-Soviet, nostalgic type. And don’t really like modern Russia, what it became: a capitalist state with “oligarchs and hooligans”. However maybe he like Russian people, as comrades in that mighty era of Gagarin.

            • Misha says:

              Mildly put, not many nations recognize Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence. From a pro-Russian perspective, there’re valid reasons to second guess the independence recognition of the two disputed former Georgian SSR regions.

              In economic planning as well as symbolism (replacing first post-Soviet Belarusian flag with the Belarusian SSR flag minus the hammer and sickle), I see the Soviet point. He was quoted saying “my Russia,” in a way suggesting kinship.

    • PvMikhail says:

      wow I like your comment.

      We have a “free choice” how to behave, but Bruxelles want us to restrict according to their interests. This paradox can’t be solved.
      EU has ideologists and tonnes of bureaucrats to support. But EU states has different interests, which often confront with each other. It has an vastly uneven economic structure where France is loudmouth, but Germany pays the cheque, and the Germans have enough of this, because they has no such a big political influence as their economic performance. On the periphery everybody has all kind of problems, first of all economical and social: mediterraneans, postcommunists, postsoviets, islanders (UK, Ireland) and Belgium. Only the scandinavians seem to be well, but they don’t want put too much into the common basket.

      enuff said

      • sinotibetan says:

        @Mikhail
        Thanks for your reply.
        “But EU states has different interests, which often confront with each other.”
        “Only the scandinavians seem to be well, but they don’t want put too much into the common basket.”
        There is no panacea for the diverse and disparate problems each nation face. Plus, even the nations within the EU
        (eg. France vs UK, Germany vs France, Slovakia vs Hungary etc.) may actually be ‘rivals’ of each other or
        have concerns that confront each other as you mentioned. I think the EU federalist might use this is a reason
        to ‘promote’ political unity amongst all member states – but this is done by treaties by political elites in which
        there is much opacity to the on-the-street Europeans. Their ‘argument’ might be One Country called ‘Europe’
        in which current member states have their national sovereignty so diluted that at most they are equivalent
        to an autonomous state or more likely a province or that of a state in the USA. I remembered reading an
        article in Lufthansa Magazine way back in 1989 which suggests this ultimate aim. I wonder if that’s what
        Europeans really want – eg. Czech state is politically equivalent to the state of Pennsylvania rather than even
        tiny Singapore. My disagreement with Federalists is that they do this via treaties and ‘in secret’. They use
        political and economic carrots as polemics to further their agenda which is not clearly articulated. Not forthright
        and quite dishonest, in my opinion. Plus, those referenda are ‘planned’ and ‘timed’ so that whatever agenda
        the EUcrats want will be granted by the people and thus appear ‘democratic’.
        Scandinavians do not want to be left out if they don’t join the EU but they have an independent streak that
        do not make them feel easy in a federalist-toned EU. Demographically, they do not have the numbers to
        ‘decide’ on the destiny of the EU. France, Germany and to a certain extend the UK are the hegemenons(economic,
        political, military, demographic); Italy and Spain are ‘second-tier’ hegemenons and Poland probably aspires
        to this level. Other nations are too small and are reduced to ‘vassals’ who support one of these hegemenons
        to at least get some of their demands heard. Sad for Europe.

        sinotibetan

        • marknesop says:

          Quite often you will find the movers and shakers in the two or more republics have discussed it between themselves, and marked out a course to get them where they want to go. They “use political and economic carrots as polemics to further their agenda which is not clearly articulated” because the public likely would not go along with it if they could see all the angles. The decision-makers comfort themselves with the logic that the public’s self-interest will not allow it to be objective in its thinking, therefore it quite literally does not know what is good for it.

          I wouldn’t argue that the public should be let in, one-man-one-vote, on every little decision that affects the country, because it’s true people often have biases that arise from not fully understanding the situation, and lawmaking would be a nightmare. But major decisions such as forming a common state or abandoning the nation’s currency and unique traditions should be forecast well in advance in national media. If there was not a huge outcry against it, it might be assumed the public had little objection.

          I believe this was done satisfactorily with the amalgamation of the original EU states; you couldn’t keep a story that big under wraps, or make that kind of decision without soliciting public input. But I couldn’t say if it had been done since. Although there will always be a few with absurd prejudices or beliefs they won’t abandon no matter how much information they are given, most are perfectly capable of making an informed decision once they’re briefed on all the pros and cons.

          • sinotibetan says:

            Mark,
            “because the public likely would not go along with it if they could see all the angles.
            The decision-makers comfort themselves with the logic that the public’s self-interest will not
            allow it to be objective in its thinking, therefore it quite literally does not know what is good for it.”
            Then the EU political elites think that the public is not wise enough to be objective in making
            a decision for themselves …which is then undemocratic. Hence, EU CANNOT claim the higher
            moral ground of being more ‘democratic’ than even states like China because that’s the
            kind of thinking offered by more authoritative regimes. Which proves the point that the EU
            is not about democracy but actually nation-building(“Europe”) hence its ‘talk’ about
            freedom and human rights in Russia or Belarus or Ukraine is not TRULY about them but
            about dismantling regimes which are opposed/seen as ‘obstacles’ to this nation-building aim.
            “But major decisions such as forming a common state or abandoning the nation’s currency and
            unique traditions should be forecast well in advance in national media. If there was not a huge
            outcry against it, it might be assumed the public had little objection.”
            Abandoning national currency, yes. “Forming a common state” – that gets buried in economic
            talk so that the ‘general political tone of a unified pan-European State agenda’ is not so clearly
            appreciated, in my opinion, by your average European. To use Darwinian terminology, there
            is gradual political evolution to this United States of Europe, not a sudden creation of one, and
            thus certainly a unitary, concrete national media anouncement but a gradualistic one
            embedded , written between the lines of treaty. A kind of political deceit, in my view.

            sinotibetan

            • sinotibetan says:

              sorry.. I meant:
              “To use Darwinian terminology, there is gradual political evolution to this United States of
              Europe, not a sudden creation of one, and thus certainly NOT a unitary, concrete national
              media anouncement but a gradualistic one embedded in those national media announcements,
              written between the lines of treaties and referenda.
              A kind of political deceit, in my view.”

              sinotibetan

    • Yalensis says:

      @sinotibetan: I am Europhile too, especially Francophile. So many interesting cultures and history. Maybe EU was bad idea. However, some kind of economic integration did seem necessary. Too bad they can’t find a way to integrate more economically without each nation losing its sovereignty and unique culture. Re. America: agree they are not a civilization on the level of these others, like China, Egypt, India, and even Europe. America did contribute a lot to world, though, in terms of inventions and technology which make life easier. I wish Americans would just focus on that kind of creativity whcih they are very good at, and stop trying to rule the world.

      • sinotibetan says:

        @yalensis
        “However, some kind of economic integration did seem necessary.”
        Partially agree. I think economic cooperation rather than complete integration. The economic problems in the
        EU are partly due to this: almost complete economic integration(thus EU ‘economically’ is supposed to function
        like a country) but a half-baked political integration. It’s like the USA with a common currency and common
        economy but the separate states are politically independent enough so as to be almost inpossible to regulate.
        It’s unworkable. If Europe really wants complete economic integration and one currency, then they must
        also accept complete political integration – i.e. European countries cease to be independent countries but
        akin to states within the USA. Of course, that’s for Europeans to decide their own destiny. Sadly, their
        politicians are doing this covertly, in my opinion, without clearly informing the average European what
        their true agenda is(i.e. complete political union). The EU’s interest in a smaller/weak Russia, and Ukraine,
        Belarus and the Balkans is like empire-building by the stroke of a pen(treaties) rather than by warfare.
        Russia at its current condition is too strong for the EU to accept so as to further its empire-building. The
        same dream of Napoleon and Hitler carries on in the dreams of the EUcrats, in my opinion.
        Agree with you about America. America is still an embryo nation in terms of ‘national identity’ – still at a loss
        as to how to integrate its hypermulticultural population to form a distinct ‘nation’. I can say “America” is a
        ‘race'(a future ‘American’ race?) in the making – ethnogenesis in its embryonic form. Whereas old countries
        like European and Asian ones already passed that stage. America trying to ‘rule the world’ forces its
        anxieties, social experiments and indecisions of policy into other nations – and therein is the main problem.
        Some of America’s problems(like multiculturalism or affirmitive action) are uniquely American based on
        her circumstance as an immigrant nation and the solutions and policies ‘worked out’ have not been adequately
        proven to work or even sustainable. America’s world hegemony means the world over wants to(or are influenced to)
        ‘be like America’ – unneccessarily other nations get themselves into problems(eg. Danes or Norwegians accepting
        hard-to-integrate radical Muslims because of their ‘belief’ in multiculturalism) when they previously had none of
        such problems.

        sinotibetan

      • sinotibetan says:

        @yalensis
        I forgot to say another thing.
        “Too bad they can’t find a way to integrate more economically without each nation losing its sovereignty and
        unique culture. ”
        I think, the originators/fathers of the EU were thinking of political unification, a European experiment(cf.
        American experiment) to form a Utopia and economic intergration was of course the means to this end.
        It’s the same kind of idealistic thinking, dreams quite removed from reality(that in humanity is the duality
        of capacity for goodness and capacity for evil)that, in my opinion, is destined to fail because Utopia is
        not attainable nor sustainable. I know many will disagree with me but Roman Catholicism, Puritanism,
        Communism all failed. Capitalism will fail too. Adherence to any political doctrine as dogmas(be it religious-based
        or secular-based) and its attendant rigidity in policies doom this principle to failure.
        This Utopianism can be seen in some of Robert Schuman’s(considered a ‘father’ of the EU) speeches:
        http://www.schuman.info/Strasbourg549.htm
        Interestingly, Schuman was supposedly religious and a ‘Bible scholar’. He obviously misunderstood Christianity.

        sinotibetan

  9. marknesop says:

    One of the better blogs I’ve found on the EU, written by a very sharp resident with a very readable writing style, can be found here;

    http://euroletters.wordpress.com/

    I recommend it – very funny, and supplies some excellent political insight on why the EU makes decisions the way it does. This blog certainly doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

    Craig is also a feature writer for Bertelsman-Stiftung’s “Future Challenges”. If you read this and Anatoly’s “Arctic Progress” – and actually understand and remember what you read – you should be among the best-informed on issues of climate and demographic change, globalization and energy politics.

  10. Alexei Cemirtan says:

    Hi Mark,

    Knowing your interest in La Russophobe, what do you think about her article in the American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/obama_russia_and_trust.html

    She decries the kicking out of Luke Harding (even though PLENTU of people were forever banned from entering the US for saying and writing far less, than he regularly wrote about Russia).

    • Misha says:

      Shame that LH gets put in the limelight.

      • marknesop says:

        I totally agree. The whole thing is a win/win publicity windfall for him. A lot of people who never heard of him are going to made aware of his odious drivel, and will read it at least occasionally from now on. It certainly isn’t going to do him any harm, and quite likely will result in a promotion, a raise or both.

        • Misha says:

          Leads to the theme of how some quality journos get the shaft, unlike others who’ve been more along the lines of a hack.

        • cartman says:

          Besides that, he said that his visa was expiring and he was waiting until his kids finished the term to move on. Then he and the Guardian declare that it is related to the Wikileaks thing (which is impossible because of the timeline with his visa). They are just spinning this to sell their stupid book by LH about the Wikileaks stuff, which is really sleazy.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s beyond me why a magazine that calls itself “The American Thinker” would feature an article by someone like “Zigfeld”. They might as well change their name to “The American Xenophobe”, although from what I’ve seen they already merited that label without her input.

      Russophobic nuts like her are always ready to rush to the defense of anyone who uses his/her journalistic platform to gratuitously criticize Russia. You could point out – as, in fact, you and others have – that barring the entry of journalists who refuse to stay on-message is nothing new for the west. They don’t even mince around the issue; just cite you for providing aid and comfort to the enemy, and you’re not allowed the luxury of reporting on western issues from a western vantage point. but that would be “whataboutism”, and would immediately fall under the blanket of trying to change the subject because you are uncomfortable discussing Russia’s failure and shortcomings.

      I was frankly surprised to see her refer to Doku Umarov as “Russia’s Osama bin Laden” rather than something like “Indomitable Freedom-Fighter Doku Umarov”. I guess we don’t need to get the net just yet. Loons like her – and they’re a minority, just a very loud and vocal one – would not be satisfied even with Boris Nemtsov and a hand-picked cabinet running Russia, and a hard-right conservative government in place in the USA. I admit I don’t know what they could find to bitch about then: perhaps arguing for the ethnic cleansing of all Russians except Nemtsov and his government, followed by Russia’s resettlement by Poles or Ukrainians or some other Russophobe-champion group. But you can be sure it would be something. Those people are genetically programmed to hate, and if it wasn’t Russia, it’d be some other identifiable group.

      • Misha says:

        Mark, please, Ukrainians at large aren’t Russia unfriendly. Refer back to polls posted at this thread. Recall an experience you brought up at another thread about people of Ukrainian and Russian backgrounds getting along in Canada.

        At play are the kind of Ukrainian views getting the nod in English language mass media – much like the Russian ones.

        I remain supportive and cautiously optimistic about improved Russo-Polish ties. Others with historical gripes have been able to calm things down among themselves.

        On the subject of Egypt and Ukraine, last night, MSNBC TV show host Rachel Maddow stated an upbeat and IMO overly-generalized linking of “people power” in Egypt, Ukraine and Georgia. Not mentioned was what can and has happened after such street activity and the replacement of the existing head of state. In the case of Ukraine, Maddow omits the role of outsiders in supporting one side over the other. Someone paid for the free concerts, food and condoms, as well as the flags of Poland, Yugoslavia, post-Soviet/pre-Lukashenko presidency Belarus and Saakashvili presidential era Georgia.

        BTW, Yushchenko’s presidency has made Kuchma a more popular figure from the time of his regime ended.

        Some of the media spin can have a sense of irony. I get the impression that a good number of establishment media types wouldn’t take too kindly to a people power like attempt to challenge them. I’m reminded of Tina Brown referring to bloggers as the Taliban of the media.

        I close by noting what was mentioned at this thread on how your blog and manner encourages good discussion, in a way that discourages trolling and a politicized deleting of valid views and propping of some others which are open to debate.

        • marknesop says:

          I realize that – I meant that Ukraine and Poland are championed by Russophobes as examples of what Russia could and should be if it weren’t run by Krazy Kommisars. I submit that might not be the case if there were no Russia to spit venom at. However, I don’t mean Ukraine is broadly Russophobic – just that it is held up as an example (‘championed”) by Russophobes, many of whom are not Ukrainian.

          • Misha says:

            Didn’t mean to get overly jumpy Mark and assumed such – which I should’ve noted along the lines of: Mark, just to clarify…

            I see a constructive need to be clear on certain particulars, given the kind of creative and inaccurate spin that’s out there.

            On Ukrainian matters that have often involved questionably partisan commentary, here’s a noteworthy piece when considering the source:

            The First Year of the New Ukrainian President is a Success – President of the Project for Transitional Democracies
            http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-first-year-of-the-new-ukrainian-president-is-a-success—president-of-the-project-for-transitional-democracies-115892349.html

            Bruce Jackson doesn’t fall in the category of “Leninist fruitcake.” (“Democratist” used that term in an unsubstantiated hit and run set of comments at Leos’ blog).

            Hence, the significance of Jackson’s comments is that they come from someone who if anything has been inclined to sympathize with those actively opposing Yanukovych. Perhaps his comments symbolize how an increased number in the West appear to have become more apprehensive about Orange leaning spin.

  11. Yalensis says:

    Returning to Egypt theme: I see on news that Egyptian people are ecstatic today at their victory in finally dislodging Mubarak. I am very happy for them. But also a little uneasy that this mass revolution is so amorphous and does not seem to have a clearly defined economic program. Well, let us wish them well and hope they don’t make too many mistakes. Mubarak truly was monster, thief, and torturer. I have grudging respect for American prez Barak Obama for finally turning against this former American puppet and telling him it was time to go. Also, I predict that every Tom-Dick-Harry oppositionist out there, be it Tymoshenko, Nemtsov, or whoever, will now claim that their movement is just the same as Egyptian and, yeah, they could get those numbers of masses out on street too, if only THEIR evil government permitted rallies.

    • marknesop says:

      Trust me – if Mubarak was finally forced out, he had outlived his usefulness. The people who are currently capering with joy tried to assassinate him 6 times; tell me it took that long for the governments that propped him up to notice that the “electorate” was unhappy.

      Meanwhile, they have a very good chance of getting this guy as a new leader (h/t to Aramis at Barkers & Rubes). Have a quick viz over his bio, see if anything jumps out at you – stuff like, “extraordinary renditions”, “headed Egyptian Intelligence service” – hey! he’s a proud GID Spy!!!. “Very bright, very realistic….not squeamish”.

      Nemtsov has already claimed that “if oil dropped to $10.00 a barrel (I started to laugh really hard right about then), Moscow would be Cairo”. So you’re right. But no prize – sorry – because it was an easy guess. It’ll be the subject of my next post. Sorry in advance to everyone that’s sick of Nemtsov – brother, I feel your pain – but there are just so many lies in that piece that I can’t let it go. If you don’t challenge stuff, people assume you accept it.

      • Yalensis says:

        @mark, Yes, you are right about Suleiman, he is even worse than Mubarak. Americans like him because he was their main “liaison” for torture-renditions. But somehow, even Americans don’t seem to be in the loop any more, they have lost control of situation. I doubt if Egyptian people will accept Suleiman as their leader any more than they wanted Mubarak’s boy-child inheriting throne and ruling them. This must be tough for someone like Nemtsov to watch because, on one hand, he probably envies people who can topple a tyrant in something like one month; on other hand, he is creature of American interests, so would be proponent only of revolutions stamped “Made in America” !

        • Alexei Cemirtan says:

          There is nothing wrong with Americans liking him because he will do “things” for them, or Israelis liking him cause he is more likely to stay true to the peace treaty. The welfare of Egyptians is not and, quiet frankly, shouldn’t be their concern. Them being hypocritic lying bastards about the whole thing is whoever incredibly annoying.

        • Misha says:

          A bit of respectful caution on pre-judging what Suleiman might do in his new role. I say this while not (offhand) being so well-versed in his background.

          Going into his becoming Hungarian head of state, Janos Kadar had a reputation that some took as suggesting a not-so creative political hack. His legacy as Hungarian leader includes an acknowledgment of leading a relatively vibrant economy and society by Warsaw Pact member standards.

          Politics the world over has periodically exhibited noticeable changes of stance/reputation among some individuals.

          • marknesop says:

            I’d agree nobody really knows how Suleiman might perform as leader, if he gets the nod. However, my point is that he will be the preferred choice of the USA, since they already know him and how he is likely to react in certain situations – he is a known quantity, in other words. And the things he is known for appear to be the ability to see advantage for himself in alliances, a noticeable lack of scruples in fulfilling the requirements of partnership and a background in an organization that specializes in knowing everyone’s business whether they want it known or not. I suggest this does not bode well for the Egyptian people – if, again, he emerges as the leader – as he appears unlikely to bring the change they say they seek.

            But you’re right that he could change completely. In that case, I suggest the USA would be disappointed, and is usually not shy about expressing its wish for a specifically defined relationship. Sometimes that’s in the interests of the other nation’s population, sometimes not.

  12. sinotibetan says:

    Regarding Egypt(and in extension, the Middle East),
    There is not much for optimism for that country or the middle east.
    3 choices:-
    1. Authoritarian ‘leaders’.
    2. Islamist leaders.
    3. More secular-leaning(but not fully) leaders.
    Choice # 1 is running out of fashion. Choice # 3 has to compromise with choice # 2 to topple choice #1. Choice # 2 are more ruthless politically and more deceitful and so, in my opinion, will ‘use’ choice # 3 to topple choice # 1 and then ‘purge’ choice #3 to become the rulers.
    For example, Muslim Brotherhood – what are some of its aims?
    1. Restoration of an Islamic Caliphate (http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065)
    2. Restoring Islamic law(Article 2 in its bylaws:” The Muslim Brotherhood, is an international Muslim Body, which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land ..”) – (http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=22687)
    3. A vague “Insist to liberate the Islamic nation from the yoke of foreign rule..”(Article 2 E) – I believe, vague on purpose so as to subject to a possible jihadist interpretation but vague enough to deny it as concrete enough to be accused as ‘jihadist’.
    4. All other civilizations are considered ‘folly'(jahili in Arabic – I think it means ‘stupid’/’folly’). Islam is the only true best civilization(Islam is not only a religion – it is TOTAL and WHOLISTIC, ‘civilizational’ – individual, societal, economic, legislature, judiciary, laws, politics , ceremonial – every aspect of human life/activity is ‘dictated’). (http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/MILESTONES.pdf – a book by Sayyid Qutb – a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood)
    5. Ultimate aim is to destroy jahiliyah – i.e. all other civilizations must realise that they are wrong and inferior to Islamic civilization..http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=22687; chapter 3)
    6. Jihad as a means to achieve global Islamization(eg. http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf – general strategic goals for the group in North America :” The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and
    destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their
    hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious
    over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and
    have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work”
    wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that
    destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be
    equal. Also see the chapter on Jihad in Sayyid Qutb’s ‘Milestones’).
    Apparently all the strategic papers and goals of the Muslim Brotherhood are in Arabic(I suspect, on purpose).
    7. It has ties with Hamas and calls for the destruction of Israel. I cannot find sites to support that they aim for the destruction of Israel, though. Ties with Hamas is well known.
    Osama bin Laden had apparently accused the Muslim Brotherhood as betraying the Jihadist principles outlined by Sayyid Qutb except with regards to Israel(Muslim Brotherhood claims to be ‘non-violent’ and condemned 9/11 for example, but thinks it’s “OK” to be violent or jihadist towards Israel) but I suspect this is a deception(for Muhammad said ‘war is deception’ and it’s OK as long as the cause of Islam is championed). Perhaps the Shiites are more at ease with this than the Sunnis(http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html) but that website perhaps may give you a glimpse as to how radical Muslims might behave/think in predominantly non-Muslim societies.
    Non-Muslim nations can never know how to deal with Middle East because they are often exposed to the dakwah(proselytizing) or ‘interfaith’ summits where of course Muslim intellectuals will only tell predominantly non-Muslim nations about the good points of Islam(which I do not deny, exist). The political agenda of Islam is often concealed in their doublespeak.
    It’s Secular Utopia(eg. Pax Americana / EU) vs Islamic Utopia. The problem is the former is in denial of the latter.

    sinotibetan

    • marknesop says:

      And a very interesting article at the link. It still puzzles me that westerners look at the association of European nations and think, “strengthened trade policies and commonality of traditions”, while they look at the concept of increased association between Ukraine and Russia and think, “New Communist bloc”.

      I agree with the author that the vision of Tymoshenko in jail must be tempting for some, and the making of her into Ukraine’s Mikhail Khodorkovsky would be a very safe bet. Arguments would be made that her ammassing of a fortune in the energy industry was simply smart dealing and an ability to sense emerging opportunity, and not criminal at all – just like Khodorkovsky.

      Hopefully it will not occur to Tymoshenko that a short stint in the slammer would be likely to rekindle her slipping popularity rather than result in any serious perception of criminality. Or maybe it has occurred to her, and is the basis for her new inflammatory rhetoric and constant challenge. Yanukovich should be smart enough not to give her that martyrdom.

      • Misha says:

        Somewhat ironically, during her first stint as PM, Tymoshenko openly lauded Putin for curbing the role of oligarchs in Russia.

        Another way of putting it is that Tymoshenko sought to limit the Ukrainian oligarchs who she views as politically suspect.

        • marknesop says:

          From her viewpoint as one of them. Yulya is out for Yulya, and anyone who happens to benefit as a consequence of her actions is a beneficiary of unintentional largesse unless she was deliberately courting them as an ally. Regular joes seldom benefit from deliberate policies put in place by the self-absorbed rich. In a way, Ms. Tymoshenko is as good a potential leader as any other because she knows the value of what Ukraine has to trade, and would not trade away its status as aqn energy hub for a song because she lacks businress acumen. She would, however, negotiate from the standpoint of her own benefit. Maybe there’s no other kind of politician any more.

  13. ………………………..KIEV Ukraine In Ukraine swine flu is causing electoral fever..In a hard-fought presidential campaign critics of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accuse her of stirring up panic to grab the spotlight from rivals by closing all schools and banning mass gatherings to combat what experts say is a relatively moderate outbreak of the disease..The arrival of the virus has set off a cycle of one-upmanship and recrimination among leading politicians that has spread fear sidelined minor presidential candidates and health officials say caused wasteful hoarding by scared citizens of precious medical supplies.. This is very dangerous said Igor Shkrobanets chief of the local health ministry in the western region of Chernivtsi one of the nine regions where a partial quarantine has been imposed.. One or another politician will gain from this situation but the doctors and their patients certainly will not he told The Associated Press in an interview at Ukraines federal Health Ministry Monday..The charismatic Tymoshenko announced the arrival of a swine flu epidemic on Oct. 30 when there was only a single confirmed case in Ukraine and she immediately announced the government would impose some of the strictest measures against the virus in Europe..The health ministry has registered around 1.4 million cases of flu and respiratory illness since the start of the outbreak the World Health Organization suspects most are swine flu an infection rate it says is in line with neighboring countries like Russia and Poland..But in Ukraine all schools and universities were closed for three weeks and all mass gatherings including campaign rallies heading into the January 17 presidential contest have been banned..Since then Tymoshenko has made daily television addresses to update the nation on the state of infection while criticizing her political rivals for hindering her efforts to stop it..Her standing in the polls in the meantime has improved dramatically bringing her to within 3 percent of the frontrunner Regions Party chief Viktor Yanukovich..In a populist response to Tymoshenko Yanukovich has pledged to spend his own campaign fund on flu medicine and 20 million surgical masks that he will hand out for free to provincial hospitals..Yanukovich whose presidential bid five years ago was backed by Russias then-President Vladimir Putin had led her by nearly 15 percent in some polls at the end of October. No one much cares that Tymoshenko was the one who created the issue she is acting upon. .Tymoshenko spokeswoman declined to comment Monday on allegations her response to the outbreak has been politically motivated but she has recently insisted that Ukraine is facing a real medical crisis..Regardless of the politics health officials say political wrangling over the epidemic is causing public fears that are not justified by its scale.

  14. anacilddymn says:

    Сергей Тигипко предал своих избирателей, объединился с партией бандитов!
    Никому верить нельзя, все подонки

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