30 December 2014
“Cossacks” of Lugansk region: Plotnitsky is a protege of Korolevska
The Cossacks who control several cities in the Luhansk region, and who are not subject to the self-proclaimed formation of the “LNR” [Lugansk People’s Republic], are demanding the resignation of self-proclaimed rebel leader Igor Plotnitsky.
Cossack leader Pavel Dryomov declared this in his address.
“Your minions, Mr. Plotnitsky, steal train cars of coal every day. I personally counted 164 today. There are documents to prove it,” said Dremov. “How long will these Plotnitskyites – these Yids – rob us? I’ll tell you who Plotnitsky is: a protege of Natalia Korolevska. Now Yefremov’s people come to the ODA,” he said.
Dryomov also alleged that, “of the 10 so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ [from Putin – Ed.], only one made it to the people.” He also said that during the so-called elections on 2 November, people were blackmailed with social aid.
“I’ll tell you how these elections were held. Stop lying. We came out for freedom. We are a free people! Plotnitsky said that the Cossacks were lawless people. You are a thief! A thief of the people’s trust! You have played the social card: if you do not come to the polls, you will not get your pensions… This kind of blackmail is not seen anywhere in the world, not even in ‘fascist Ukraine.’ We demand your resignation. And all of Lugansk region will rise up in support of us,” said Dryomov.
He also accused Plotnitsky’s “warriors” for the fact that they “steal everything that is possible and impossible.”
As you know, Dryomov’s “Cossacks” control several settlements, including Stakhanov.
Note: The video associated with this article is no longer available due to a copyright claim by the “Press Center of the Novorossiya Army Staff.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axv6Pf_rGl8
29 December 2014
Poroshenko to introduce martial law if “peace” interrupted
If there is a departure from the peace process, martial law will be introduced immediately.
This was stated by President Poroshenko at a press conference.
“What will we do if there is an exit from the peace process. I can promise you that a state of war will be introduced immediately,” he said.
Answering the question of a correspondent from Ukrainska Pravda, he continued:
“Martial law will be introduced immediately by my decree, by a decision of the National Security and Defense Council, and will be transferred to the Verkhovna Rada, as soon as the first offensive operations occur on the line of confrontation. No one will hesitate for a minute,” he said.
“A military solution to the Donbas does not exist. Who wants to have some fun – gun in hand and under the bullets of the Russian military machine, the most powerful on the continent. You will see how it ends,” he said.
“Hundreds of Ukrainian heroes have died since the day the invasion started. There is only a political solution to the conflict in the Donbas. I am a responsible Ukrainian President. This pains me very much,” he said.
“From 9 December, when a regime of artillery silence was introduced, not one soldier should have perished. Yes, we are losing our soldiers when they die on stretchers from clashes with sabotage and reconnaissance groups, but the ceasefire regime works. And Ukrainian warriors are not dying,” he said.
“It is not only the regime of silence that works, but also the peace plan, during which 1,500 Ukrainian captives have been freed, 150 of them in the last week. If there had been no peace, who knows whether these people would still be alive? This is also a result of the peace plan,” said Poroshenko, who later admitted that on Monday three “cyborgs” had been killed at the Donetsk airport.
“Do we want the war? No, nobody wants it,” he added.
Poroshenko also said he was not flirting with the “LNR” [Lugansk People’s Republic] and “DNR” [Donetsk People’s Republic] formations. “On the contrary, on my order the smuggling of coal, which crossed the line of confrontation, was discontinued. The legal framework for the confiscation of such shipments is being prepared,” he said.
“The only cargo there now is coal from state-owned enterprises supplying Ukrainian power plants, and there is monitoring to make sure that the funds are used for the salaries of Ukrainian-citizen miners who work there,” he said.
“Other companies must be re-registered in Ukraine, pay taxes and receive a salary, because they are Ukrainian citizens,” he said.
28 December 2014
Poroshenko Bloc leader has proposed confiscating corrupt officials’ assets
In the fight against corruption, the Verkhovna Rada has heard a proposal to legalize the alienation of illegally acquired property.
The relevant bill has registered in the Verkhovna Rada by an MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Yuri Lutsenko, reports UNN.
Under the proposed changes, “property whose value exceeds three hundred thousand UAH, if the legality of the origin of money or other property used in its acquisition has not been confirmed in the manner prescribed by law” shall be regarded as unreasonable.
Such property may be alienated in favor of the state by a court in whole or in part upon a motion by the prosecutor. Included is the possibility of removal of such property from relatives and friends of defendants in anti-corruption cases if the court proves the illegitimacy of the property.
At the same time, a person may be exempted from confiscation of property “if he voluntarily declares it to the competent state authority.”
However, the bill establishes liability for an attempt to force or provoke a person to commit a corrupt act.
As reported, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau has been offered the power to investigate any crime, track financial flows and arrest the property of individuals and legal entities. The relevant bill has registered in the Verkhovna Rada by BPP MP Yuri Lutsenko.
Earlier, President Poroshenko promised that the Bureau would be a “surprise,” and would appear on January 14th. He also suggested that a foreigner should lead the institution.
26 December 2014
Defendant in Sentsov case sentenced to seven years
A Moscow city court has found a citizen of Ukraine, Gennady Afanasyev, guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison for allegedly organizing terrorist attacks in Crimea.
“Mediazone” has reported this, citing a source in Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court.
The Afanasyev case was allocated to a separate proceeding.
According to investigators, Afanasyev was a member of the so-called group of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, which in April allegedly on the orders of the “Right Sector” created a “terrorist group” in Simferopol.
This “community,” according to the investigation, aims to “influence decision-making bodies of the government of the Russian Federation to withdraw the Republic of Crimea from its structure.”
Apart from Afanasyev and Sentsov, included in the “group” were detained anti-fascist Alexander Kolchenko, historian Oleksiy Chyrny, and other “unidentified persons.”
Investigators believe that these people, at the direction of Sentsov, carried out arson against the building of the “Russian Community of Crimea” on 14 April and the local branch of “United Russia” on 18 April. These suffered minor damage: in the first building a door was burned; in the second – a window.
After that, Chyrny and Afanasyev (on the instructions of Sentsov) allegedly acquired explosives to perpetrate terrorist attacks on 9 May in Simferopol: to blow up a statue of Lenin in the railway station square and the “Eternal Flame” memorial. However, the explosion did not happen due to the fact that both of them were arrested, investigators insist.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Chyrny, Afanasyev, Sentsov and Kolchenko in Simferopol in May, and they were taken to Moscow. After their arrest, Chyrny and Afanasyev confessed. Sentsov denies all guilt, saying that after his arrest he was tortured. Kolchenko denies any involvement in terrorism.
Another four involved in the case of so-called Crimean terrorists are wanted by police, and their names are known: Asanov, Borkin, Zuykov and Tsyril.
Investigators consider the accused to be Russian citizens – they allegedly received citizenship automatically with the annexation of Crimea. Kolchenko and Sentsov themselves insist on their Ukrainian citizenship.
As you know, in September the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that Sentsov and Ukrainian aviator Nadia Savchenko are on the list of prisoners for exchange, but they are still in Russian captivity.
26 December 2014
Moscow Patriarchate canonizes anti-Russian Sich Hetman
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has canonized the last Hetman of the Zaporizhian Sich, Petro Kalnyshevsky, according to the press service of the UOC-MP.
“The Holy Synod of 23 December considered the report of the Chairman of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of the Archbishop of Kherson and John of Tauride John, on the basis of which it has blessed the local worship and reverence within the Diocese of Zaporizhia of the last hetman of the Zaporizhian Sich, Petro Kalnyshevsky,” the report says.
The press service added that a prayer to Kalnyshevsky, his iconization and his feast day (31 October by the old calendar; 13 November by the new) were approved.
Recall that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate canonized Petro Kalnyshevsky in 2008.
In 1775, after a siege by the Russian army, the 85-year-old Kalnyshevsky was arrested and initially detained in Moscow, in the office of the Military Collegium, and was then sent to the Solovetsky monastery, where he spent about 28 years in a cold cell of 1 by 3 meters.
Kalnyshevsky was released from the cell into the fresh air only three times a year, during the holidays of Christmas, Easter and the Transfiguration.
After Russian Emperor Alexander I pardoned him, Kalnyshevsky – at the age of 110 years and almost blind – did not want to return home and stayed in the monastery, where he died three years later.
26 December 2014
In the past week, the leaders of other former Soviet republics have given outside observers pause for thought concerning their relationship with the Russian Federation. Before heading to Moscow for a pre-scheduled meeting to sign an economic pact with the Kremlin, the leaders of both Belarus and Kazakhstan came to Ukraine – separately – to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Both reassured the Ukrainian head of state that they wanted to cooperate with him, and that the official policy of their respective countries was respect for Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stressed the large trade turnover between Belarus and Ukraine, and the lack of any outstanding debt between them. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his wish to increase trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Ukraine to $4 billion, and to supply Ukraine with coal to make up for the loss of its coal-rich eastern regions, now controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Nazarbayev also met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, who reminded the Kazakh leader that Kazakstan was – like Ukraine – a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, by which Ukraine surrendered its arsenal of missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads in exchange for guarantees from the US, UK and Russia to respect Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” (China and France later joined as guarantors). Yatsenyuk said he hoped Kazakhstan did not find itself in the same position as Ukraine, reminding the rest of the world of its commitments to observe and defend post-Soviet national borders.
The visits of the two leaders and the topics discussed naturally raised several questions among observers concerning their real motivation. Were Lukashenko and Nazarbayev really protecting their own interests, trying to take an independent stance from Moscow in bilateral relations with Kyiv? Or were they there primarily to convey messages from the Kremlin, acting as third parties for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and portraying Russia’s leader as an even stronger strongman through proxy diplomacy?
Neither theory is verifiable, and the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Both Lukashenko and Nazarbayev qualify as “strongmen” in their respective countries, as both are the only well-known names from their respective political systems. The “power vertical” is even more pronounced in the unitary states of Belarus and Kazakhstan than it is in the Russian Federation. In Ukraine, by contrast, both the head of state (Poroshenko) and the head of government (Yatsenyuk) have achieved face recognition abroad, and the division of power shaping up in Ukraine gives the country a more democratic image with each passing day. Reforms aimed at decentralization of the Ukrainian political system will transform the country profoundly. Lukashenko and Nazarbayev surely sense these realities, and neither has shown much inclination to follow suit. At the same time, both have surely watched Russia’s dismemberment of Ukraine with alarm, despite neither country having voted for UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262 (recognizing Crimea as within the international borders of Ukraine) less than a week after Russia’s unilateral military annexation of Crimea in March 2014 (Belarus voted against the resolution; Kazakhstan abstained). Lukashenko has called for all trade between Belarus and Russia to henceforth be conducted in dollars or euros, not rubles, but he is between a rock and a hard place, branded “Europe’s last dictator” by some Western politicians and heavily dependent on Russia for energy and economic subsidies. Nazarbayev has tried to be conciliatory during the Ukraine crisis, but he has spoken out publicly against Western sanctions against Russia, and his country does not even share a border with the European Union. Both Belarus and Kazakhstan have large ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking populations. Both share long borders with Russia and are vulnerable to Russian subversion. The tightrope between Russian vassaldom and independence is becoming increasingly difficult for both leaders to walk.
Following is a translation of an analysis from the Ukrainian press of the Lukashenko and Nazarbayev visits to Ukraine. The link to the original article can be found here: For themselves and for Putin: Why Lukashenko and Nazarbayev came to Kyiv
For themselves and for Putin: Why Lukashenko and Nazarbayev came to Kyiv
Корреспондент.net ~ 22 December 2014, 17:10
Results of the visits of two leaders of the ex-Soviet space to Ukraine
Over the course of two days, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan paid official visits to Ukraine. Both visits concerned not only the bilateral relations of these countries with Ukraine, but also settlement of the crisis in the Donbas. Lukashenko and Nazarbayev offered their services to the Ukrainian president in ending the conflict. Observers are wondering what the visit of two leaders of the Customs Union to Kyiv signifies: the transfer of ideas to Russia, or – to the contrary – their separation from Moscow. In this case, after the talks in Kyiv, the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan went to Russia.
Korrespondent.net has analyzed why Lukashenko and Nazarbayev visited Poroshenko.
Lukashenko is always ready to help
Since the beginning of the crisis in the Donbas, the President of Belarus has expressed support for the unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine and refused to recognize the breakaway republics. During his visit to Kyiv, Lukashenko reiterated this position and assured Poroshenko that Minsk is ready to further contribute to peace talks and to act from a neutral platform. The Belarusian president expressed his willingness to always help Ukraine.
“Petro Olekseyevich [Poroshenko], if you need something from Belarus – say so, and we’ll do everything that you ask in a day. Everything that the President of Ukraine has asked, I publicly declare, we have always done. And so it will continue from this day forward.” ~ Alexander Lukashenko
The Belarusian leader said that he is not helping Ukraine for personal gain, but because “we are native people.”
“For us, this is not a game. Not only because of trade turnover, but because we are neighbors, we live next to each other, and we are native people. They say: Look, Lukashenko is afraid of something. I’m not afraid. Let’s do it privately. Let’s not say anything to anyone and do it in secret, but only so that there will be progress made in this direction,” said the president of Belarus. Lukashenko noted that despite the conflict in the Donbas, the trade turnover between Belarus and Ukraine had not fallen, but instead continued to grow. At the same time Ukraine has not a penny of debt for Belarusian exports, which is a unique situation.
During the talks, the presidents agreed that one of the Ukrainian TV channels would be broadcast on the territory of Belarus.
“We already have such an experience. Our channels work together with three or four Russian ones. Why can’t we establish such joint cooperation with Ukraine?” said the Belarusian leader.
“We have long said that Belarusians have the right to know different points of view, and it would be nice if one of the information channels of Ukraine had the opportunity to broadcast on the territory of Belarus,” said Poroshenko. He added that he has already assigned the corresponding task to the Minister of Information Policy.
Ukraine will also help
In turn, Petro Poroshenko offered help in the development of relations between Belarus and the countries of the European Union within the framework of the “Eastern Partnership” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). Talks are in progress on the mechanisms for the mutually beneficial use of technology, legislation and financial resources at different levels of the partnership, noted the head of state.
“Starting with the integrated management, and concluding with energy efficiency. For our part, we have achieved substantial successes in this sphere,” stressed Poroshenko.
The sides also discussed issues of cooperation between Ukraine and Belarus, including in the energy sector, security spheres, interregional cooperation, and in the field of machine-building. The Ukrainian president noted that Ukraine is interested in economic, political and other relations with Belarus developing with maximum intensity.
Coal has been found
During the visit to Kyiv of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Ukraine agreed with Kazakhstan on the supply of coal, which is now experiencing an acute shortage.
“Immediately we agreed to supply coal from the Ekibastuz deposits, the cheapest that are mined in the country,” said Nazarbayev. He also said that Poroshenko had been invited to visit Kazakhstan and to organize a business forum to help them to find common ground. The parties also agreed on the resumption of activities of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation.
“We consider it unacceptable that for the past 2 years, trade turnover between the two countries has fallen by more than 30%. We agreed that in the near future the activities of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation would resume,” said Poroshenko. Ukraine hopes that key areas will receive new impetus. “We see the fields of machine-building – including power engineering and the production of “Turboatom” – as the most promising areas of cooperation,” said Poroshenko. He hopes that Ukrainian products will be used for the construction of energy facilities on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan has also sought restoration of the volume of trade with Ukraine to the level of $4 billion.
Nazarbayev the peacemaker
Kazakhstan’s president urged Ukraine and Russia to find a compromise to resolve the conflict in the Donbas, and said he was ready to fully support the restoration of economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as the peaceful settlement of the situation in the format in which talks had previously been held in Minsk. At the same time, he described events in the east of Ukraine as a civil war, and stressed that confrontation and sanctions were a dead end and a road to nowhere. According to the Kazakh president, he relates equally to Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
“I am the honest manager who supports no side, is neutral, and can make some kind of contribution. This is goodwill,” said Nazarbayev.
Why did they come?
Political analyst Kost Bondarenko believes that the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan – Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev – presented their various solutions to the military conflict in the Donbas.
“Lukashenko and Nazarbayev are offering their versions concerning the Donbas, especially on the eve of the meeting in Minsk. Nazarbayev will propose a Kazakh format instead of the Minsk or Geneva variety,” said the expert. Bondarenko also suggested that the president of Ukraine, during the meeting in Kyiv, conveyed some message from Western leaders to Lukashenko. “Poroshenko is now seen as a herald of the West, and the leaders of the former Soviet Union, respectively, sensing the weakening of Moscow, are traveling to Kyiv to compare notes with the West,” he added.
Political analyst Vitaly Bala believes that Ukraine’s refusal to be a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Customs Union encourages Belarus and Kazakhstan to build bilateral relations with Ukraine, and in particular to increase and improve the level of both trade and political relations.
The voice of Putin
Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko is sure that to speak about the visits of Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev to Kiev as a sign of the collapse of the Customs Union is premature.
“I do not rule out the possibility that one of the tasks of Lukashenko and Nazarbayev was to convey to Poroshenko alternative variants of compromise on the Donbass, which for some reason Vladimir Putin cannot voice himself. He may try to apply certain options through third parties so as not to appear weak, or so that these proposals are not rejected immediately.” ~ Volodymyr Fesenko
In this case, the analyst does not exclude the personal interests of Lukashenko and Nazarbayev in visiting Ukraine. According to experts, Belarus and Kazakhstan are trying to distance themselves from the aggressive policy of the Kremlin as much as possible in order not to come under serious pressure from the West, and to protect themselves from sanctions.
“Recent events clearly demonstrate that they way in which the conflict in the Donbas is resolved will largely determine the future of post-socialist camp, and indeed of the whole region,” concluded Fesenko.
14 December 2014
The terrorist Girkin explains how Putin could end up in The Hague
Russian spy and former warlord of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) urges the Kremlin to launch full-scale war in Ukraine
Igor Strelkov (Girkin) believes that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be court-martialed, reports Russian TV channel Dozhd.
According to Girkin, this will happen if the Russian leadership approaches the Ukrainian conflict in a peaceful manner. Girkin claims that during the truce Ukraine is “restoring its army at a frantic pace, such that no ‘vacationers’ (DNR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko in August declared that the separatists fighting on the side of the Russian military were soldiers on vacation) can change the balance of power on the battlefield.”
“This winter, sanctions should seriously undermine the readiness of the Russian public to protect the Russian world” – and especially the loyalty of our officials (already extremely doubtful). And NATO, meanwhile, should consolidate the opinion of its citizens for the necessity of direct military assistance, and even armed intervention in the conflict ‘over the sovereignty of Ukraine,’” says Girkin.
By the spring, according to him, the population of the “completely destroyed” Donbass will view Putin “with hatred,” the number of refugees will have increased by a few hundred thousand, and the army of Ukraine – to which NATO troops will be introduced – will “attack,” so “that without direct, large-scale intervention of the Russian Armed Forces, there will be a rapid defeat of the demoralized ‘militia,’ which is 5-7 times inferior in number.”
Girkin also warned of the possibility of a “Moscow Maidan,” which could begin against the backdrop of “economic collapse,” and “unconcealed betrayal of the Russian population (Donbass).”
“If he (Putin) continues in the same spirit as now, then he and I will have to be neighbors… for the cameras in The Hague. If we are still alive for them to bring us there, of course,” says ex-minister of defense of the “DNR.”
In mid-August 2014, after the resignation of the DNR Prime Minister Alexander Borodai, Igor Strelkov was removed from his post as chief of the armed formations of the separatists. Later, in early September, Girkin gave a press conference in Moscow.
There he made it clear that he does not like what is happening in the Don Basin, where the armistice was announced. However, he expressed his willingness to abide by the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he considers “the only legitimate commander in chief.”
It will be recalled that Girkin’s recent interview Girkin was subjected to double censorship in Russia.
25 December 2014, 15:34
FSB confiscates apartments from Ukrainian servicemen, threatens them with torture
In Crimea, the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) and other state organs are throwing families out of the apartments of Ukrainian military personnel who have remained loyal to their oath, and are appropriating the empty apartments of Ukrainian soldiers.
This was reported to Ukrainska Pravda by Maryna Kanalyuk, assistant to the Ukrainian Naval Forces Command, and by Vladyslav Seleznev, former head of the media center of the Defense Ministry in Crimea.
“Our servicemen left Crimea, and it is understood that they cannot go there. Their families have remained and are minding these apartments, but the FSB, prosecutor, the Housing Authority – they have taken the doors off their hinges and terrorized the families,” said Kanalyuk, added that already 10 such cases had been recorded.
“In different cities of Crimea remained their service quarters. Their families lived in some of these. Russia considers this service housing to be nationalized and to belong to the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation. They make such claims without the decision of any court,” said Kanalyuk.
“Our government has signed decree 424 on the privatization of the service housing that remains in occupied territory. On the basis of this decision, we in Odessa and other Ukrainian cities discharged acts of privatization and made an extract from the state register in Kherson, that this housing is private property,” she explained.
“But Russia believes that the documents adopted after the referendum are invalid. This is even though federal legislation to which they refer, there is no such language,” added Kanalyuk.
According to her, the last incident occurred on Wednesday. “Ten people went to the apartment of one of our officers, Anatoly Kvasov in Simferopol, home to his wife, child and mother, and began to threaten them,” she said.
“When my wife called Anatoly and handed the phone to the FSB, he threatened Kvasov with torture at the border. He said this. And he promised problems with the Board of Trustees, as the children are allegedly illegally present on the territory of Crimea,” said Kanalyuk
According to her, her former colleague had settled in her apartment, having broken down the door and falsified the documentation.
“I have an apartment in Sevastopol. A month ago it was illegally seized by our former officer, Captain 2nd Grade Kostin, through forgery of documents. This is our former soldier, who betrayed his oath and began to serve Russia. He broke the locks and went in there,” said Kanalyuk.
“I changed the door, called the police and recorded this fact through the district. But a week ago a commission came and sealed my apartment. There hangs a print that says ‘Government of Sevastopol, Housing Group,’” she said.
“I cannot go there because I may not be able to leave. A policeman said this group approached him, but he said that all decisions should be taken by a court,” added Kanalyuk.
The former head of the media center of the Defense Ministry in Crimea, Vladyslav Seleznev, said that the FSB also came to his apartment.
“In Crimea, FSB functionaries came to my apartment and frightened my mother. They gave her two weeks to ensure that the apartment was relinquished. I have relatives there, and a child, and there is nowhere to take them,” said Seleznev.
14 December 2014
A term that is almost never mentioned in connection with Putin’s Russia is “fascism.” The word seems to have gone by the wayside among journalists, and to be associated primarily with 20th century dictators. Indeed, the ideology itself – as expounded by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini after the First World War – had fairly specific tenets as it applied domestically: breaking strikes, crushing left-wing labor unions, promoting working-class nationalism and inciting ethnic chauvinism. But in foreign policy, the fascism of both Mussolini and Hitler was characterized by militarism and imperialism, and it appealed to ethno-national unity and a historic or “sacred” mission to conquer the lost territory of former empire.
There is no essential difference between that policy and the policy of the Putin regime today. Putinist Russia is nationalistic, appeals to former imperial glory (both Russian and Soviet), and asserts that parts of Ukraine – a state which the Russian government viewed as sovereign for over two decades since the collapse of the USSR – are intrinsically “Russian.” The Kremlin has appealed to common religious and ethnic identity to bolster its policy of creating “Novorossia” (‘New Russia’), a mythical historical territory supposedly dating back to the time of the despot Russian Empress Catherine II, when the Russian Empire was expanding militarily. As the economy crumbles at home, Putin’s Russia is resorting to a policy of military aggression, annexationism and imperialism to shore up domestic popular support.
This article from the BBC explains the appeal to ethno-religious identity in the Russian policy in Ukraine. It is a “crusade,” and while the BBC is widely accepted as the most politically correct media outlet in the Western world, it is nevertheless true that Russia’s war in Ukraine is one of “religious destiny.” In the 21st century, this can only be described as “fascist,” yet even the BBC – once George Orwell’s employer – never uses the term to describe Russia today.
Read the article here: The Russians fighting a ‘holy war’ in Ukraine
12 December 2014
The ten richest people in the Prosecutor General’s Office
On Friday, 12 December, the Novoye Vremya online newspaper published an article called “Golden Ten: The richest functionaries of the Prosecutor General’s Office have been named.” Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema, who had previously called for the salaries of officials in his office to be raised, was declared to have had an annual salary in 2013 of over $45,000. While this sum is equivalent to the starting annual pay of a state high school teacher in the United States, it is high for Ukraine, where salaries for even white-collar workers are usually below $200 per month. A salary of $3,000 per month in Ukraine allows a person to live in relative luxury, even in the capital, Kyiv. The cost of living is very low. Below, the salaries in Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) are divided by eight and put in brackets  to give a rough approximation of the dollar equivalent for much of 2013. Ukraine has experienced 100% inflation in the space of a year, so these figures would not be the same today. But as it is, they immediately give rise to the question: why did such officials need to take bribes when their official salaries gave them every opportunity to live very well within their own country, including travel abroad, and when other privileges and benefits were provided by the state?
The Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) has disclosed the first full declaration of income for all of its employees of the central office, reports LIGABusinessInform.
The top 10 richest functionaries at the OPG are as follows:
- Lyudmyla Yerkhov
Head of the Department of Planning and Financial Activities
Revenue for 2013: 1,998,000 UAH [$249,750]
Of this, salary: 395,746 UAH [$49,468.25]
Sale of assets: 1,037,300 UAH [$129,662.50]
Dividends: 564,954 UAH [$70,619.25]
Property of declarant and family: 0.1 hectares of land
Apartment of 138.7 m2 bought for 1,256,350 UAH [$157,043.50]
Deposits: 632,790 UAH [$79,098.75]
- Olha Kydysyuk
Head of the Organization of the Unified Registry of Pre-Trial Decisions
Revenue for 2013: 538,219 UAH [$67,277.38] (family: 170,825 UAH [$21,353.13])
Of this, salary: 356,751 UAH [$44,593.88]
“Other income”: 181,488 UAH [$22,686]
Property of declarant and family: apartment 25.4 m2 and 66.7 m2
Car: Mitsubishi ACX 2008
- Lesya Kulbyda
Head of the Organization for Reception of Citizens
Revenue for 2013: 535,056 UAH [$66,882] (family – 665,603 UAH [$83,200.38])
Of this, salary: 315,712 UAH [$39,464]
“Other income”: 211,344 UAH [$26,418]
Property of declarant and family: 0.1 hectares of land
Apartment: 71.4 m2 and 148.6 sq. m2
Deposits: 390,000 UAH [$48,750]
- Oleh Umansky
Head of Information Systems
Revenue for 2013: 534,504 UAH [$66,813] (family: UAH 948,470 [$118,558.75], all from entrepreneurial and professional activities)
Of this, salary: 331,504 UAH [$41,438]
Sale of property: 205,000 UAH [$25,625]
Property of declarant and family: two units – 0.14 m2; house – 235 m2
Car: Subaru Forrester 2013, bought for 297,000 UAH [$37,125]
- Alexey Baganets
Revenue for 2013: 501,576 UAH [$62,697]
Of this, salary: 0 UAH
Pension: 250,000 UAH [$31,250]
“Other income”: 251,576 UAH [$31,447]
Property of declarant and family: 0.22 hectares of land; house – 243 m2
Apartment: 156 m2
Car: Lexus 350c 2011, registered to family members
- Volodymyr Zherbytsky
First Deputy Chief Military Prosecutor
Revenue for 2013: 486,221 UAH [$60,777.63]
Of this, salary: 300,221 UAH [$37,527.63]
Property of declarant and family: apartment – 230 m2
Car: Land Rover Defender 2003
- Oleksandr Kovalenko
First Deputy Head of State for International Legal Cooperation
Revenue for 2013: 474,117 UAH [$59,264.63]
Of this, salary: 260,615 UAH [$32,576.88]
“Other income”: 213,615 UAH [$26,701.88]
Property of declarant and family: apartment – 90 m2
Car: Mercedes-Benz 1990
- Vasyl Kozhukhar
First Deputy Head of State Supervision of Observance of Laws in the Execution of Judgments
Revenue for 2013: 457,279 UAH [$57,159.88]
Of this, salary: 335,232 UAH [$41,904]
Property of declarant and family: 0.06 hectares of land; apartment – 72.2 m2
Car: Skoda Superb 2012 (payments on loans in 2013: 26,102 UAH [$3,262.75])
- Oleh Makarchuk
Head of the Department of Organizational Support
Revenue for 2013: 451,654 UAH [$56,456.75]
Of this, salary: 358,087 UAH [$44,760.88]
Property of declarant and family: no real estate
Deposits: 213,000 UAH [$26,625]
Car: Honda CRV 2008
- Olena Romanyuk
Head of Legal Support
Revenue for 2013: 432,018 UAH [$54,002.25]
Of this, salary: 302,018 UAH [$37,752.25]
Sale property: 130,000 UAH [$16,250]
Property of declarant and family: 0.006 hectares of land bought for 16,246 UAH [$2,030.75]; apartment – 72 m2
Car: Hyundai Tucson 2008; Land Rover Freelander 2013 (bought for 396,048 UAH [$49,506]; mortgage payments – 60,029 UAH [$7,503.63])
Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema declared 361,943 UAH [$45,242.88] income for 2013. He had previously announced his intention to increase the salaries of prosecutors.
It is also noteworthy that Deputy Prosecutor General Oleh Bachun declared a lack of income for 2013. In the graph for gifts, prizes and winnings, he indicated the amount of 5,862,857 UAH [$732,857.13].
12 December 2014
The reporting on the human catastrophe in the Donbas – just as in any war – is subject to bias, and difficult to verify. None of us who try to follow events in Ukraine can deny this. Russian media reports that the Ukrainian army engages in indiscriminate destruction; Ukrainian media says the same of Russia and its proxy separatist-terrorists. Many people in Ukraine have satellite TV packages that feature only Russian channels, however, and to the extent such channels convey the impression that Ukraine is a place where fascist state terror rules, it is safe to assume that official Russian reporting in general is mostly lies. Living in Kyiv and traveling around the country, it is impossible to conclude honestly that “fascism” in any meaningful sense governs. Ukrainian media may omit mention of atrocities committed by its own soldiers (atrocities being inevitable on all sides in any war), but it is better to err on the side of trusting Ukrainian TV, if only for the fact that Ukraine is fighting a defensive – and therefore just – war to defend its sovereign territory. Without the flow of arms, personnel and equipment from Russia across the southeastern Ukrainian border into the separatist territories, this war would have been over a long time ago, and the death and destruction far less. As Ukraine’s president repeatedly attempts to implement ceasefires, the Russian-backed separatists break the truce. Nowhere has this been more in evidence than at the Donetsk Airport, where Ukrainian forces held control at the time a ceasefire was signed in early September, but which the pro-Russian forces nevertheless attempted to take by force.
In the meantime, we have the below “before and after” graphic of the Donbas. The indifference of the Russian leadership to the vast suffering its military intervention and interference has caused in Ukraine can be amply understood, and the numbers in this poster are credible:
1 person killed every 2 hours since September 2014
435,000 internally displaced persons (refugees)
3 out of every 4 children registered for school in Donetsk have not been able to enroll
10 churches and 45 hospitals damaged or destroyed
16% increase in prices
24% increase in the cost of communal services
87,000 unemployed in Donbas
10 December 2014
Heroes of the Revolution criticize police reform
Today, 10 December, one of the leaders of the AutoMaidan movement spoke out on the course of reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD, or national police force), the day after attending a meeting of the Advisory Council of such reform. AutoMaidan became famous during the Euromaidan Revolution for having rallied a massive number of people to use their automobiles to block police reinforcements from entering Kyiv to suppress democracy demonstrators. Sergei Hadzhynov, a prominent leader of AutoMaidan, has declared on his Facebook page that the current process of MVD reform under the newly elected authorities is a dud. Following is a translation of his comments…
Yesterday, for the first time, I attended a meeting of the Advisory Council on the reform of the Ministry of Interior with [Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen] Avakov and [Prime Minister Arseniy] Yatsenyuk.
Everything is terrible.
The Georgian Format for police reform will not happen for a reason that – on the contrary – should encourage radical reform: a lack of money…
There will be an attempt to collect money for reform at an international donor conference, because international donors always give money in advance for the increase of the salaries of police officers based on the promise of reform…
Eka Zghuladze will not apparently be Avakov’s deputy…
The reform written by Yevgeny Zakharov may look good on paper, but it will be implemented by the police officers themselves… You can stop reading further and have a shot of vodka instead…
Since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs shrank by 10%, and this was seen as a positive achievement…
An oppressive impression was conveyed by the speeches of different police chiefs – give us powers, give us money, do not rush, do not interfere, or else the country will be engulfed by crime…
What AutoMaidan will do:
Demand the appointment of the deputy minister for reform with corresponding powers: a specialist in reform of organizations, preferably with an MBA from a top school. This is a key condition for this reform.
Be prepared to support the deputy politically, publicly, physically, mentally and however we can.
Delegate its experts to the working groups on reform. We will not reinvent the wheel. To start with, we will copy Western models.
If we do not come together on the first point or see profanation, we will do everything necessary to make sure that Avakov leaves.
GAI [State Automobile Inspectorate] must die.
No money for salaries? Cut the generals’ offices and thousands of idlers in uniform. Georgia has reduced the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs by three times! Raise the salaries of those who remain.
An effective internal security service: regular polygraph tests and provocation of the illegal actions of all employees.
Identifiers on masks/helmets, so that every brazen cop knows he will be found for sure if he uses unequal force against protesters.
For AutoMaidan, reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is priority No. 1. For the sake of it, we are even ready to forgive all those responsible for the police repression against us during the Revolution of Dignity.
7 December 2014
Today Ukrainian Army got modern T-72UA tanks and new BTR-4E APC.
Today President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko came to the military airport in Chuhuiv city in Kharkiv Region. About 100 units of armored vehicles of different type and aviation was presented for Ukrainian Army. There were T-64BM “Bulat” tanks, T-64, T-72UA, T-72A, armored personnel carries BTR-3E, BTR-4E, self-propelled artillery 2C1 and helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-2. President personally inspected the vehicles and talked to the warriors. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak also accompanied the President. December 6 is the Day of Armed Forces of Ukraine, so this is special day for every soldier who is fighting now protecting the country. All vehicles will be delivered to ATO zone to strengthen Ukrainian Army units fighting with pro-Russian terrorist who control some areas of Lugansk and Donetsk Regions. – See more at: http://ukrainerightnow.com/today-ukrainian-army-got-modern-t-72ua-tanks-and-new-btr-4e-apc-photos/#sthash.u6iZtVx5.dpuf
4 December 2014
The most controversial aspect of the new pro-Western government in Kyiv is a new ministry – the Ministry of Information – approved by parliamentary vote on 2 December 2014. The Russian government has seized on this news as evidence that the Ukrainian authorities are creating an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” that will ultimately serve as an official organ restricting and controlling the expression of opinions in society. The Kremlin has cited the warnings of none other than the representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for Media Freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, as evidence of the Kyiv government’s lack of democratic credentials.
These accusations need to be addressed, and I offer a few thoughts here.
The Ministry of Truth (‘Minitru’ in short) is one of four ministries in Oceania, which is one of three political blocs ruling the world (along with Eurasia and Eastasia), in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The other three ministries are the Ministry of Peace (Minipax), the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) and the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty). In the novel, each ministry produces the exact opposite of what its name implies: the Ministry of Truth disseminates lies and falsifies history to suit the aims of the state; the Ministry of Peace makes war; the Ministry of Love directs the torture and brainwashing of Oceania’s citizens; the Ministry of Plenty presides over economic scarcity. Since Orwell worked in the British Ministry of Information during World War II, it is widely assumed that the Ministry of Truth analogizes his wartime employer.
An important point to be made with regard to the Russian accusations is that censors exist in any society, even in peacetime. Yet Ukraine is at war – against Russian-backed proxy separatists in its eastern provinces – just as Britain was at war against Hitler when its own Ministry of Information existed. The British Ministry of Information – though satirized in Orwell’s novel for its censorship and truth-bending – probably played a constructive role in the war by countering Axis propaganda. But it was in any case far less pernicious than the German state agencies and organizations spouting Nazi propaganda. One hopes that even Putin’s Kremlin views the victory of Great Britain in World War II as an outcome preferable to a triumphant Third Reich.
Thus, even while it is thus far impossible to say exactly what the new Ukrainian Ministry of Information will do, it is certainly reasonable to predict that it will serve a constructive purpose in countering and correcting some of the more outlandish statements and reports coming out of official Russian media, which still refers to the pro-Western authorities in Kyiv as a “junta,” despite the fact that of all seventeen ministers in the Ukrainian government, only one – the minister of defense – is a serving military officer. It will be remembered that Russian Channel One, a state TV outlet, reported early in the conflict in the east that Ukrainians had nailed a small child “crucifixion style” to a bulletin board in the middle of the town square in a small city. These and other reports are patently false, and are designed to whip up pro-war fever among Russia’s citizens and maintain popular support for Russian aggression and imperialism.
It should also be remembered that the television channel RT – broadcast in four or five different languages around the world – is a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, and is financed from the Russian presidential administration. It adheres to an unambiguously anti-American editorial line, while never criticizing Putin or the Russian government. It points out problems with Western capitalism, but not with capitalism itself, since Russia today is capitalism run amuck. If the West is unpleasant for its corruption, then Russia is hell, with no middle class and grotesque greed blatantly evident among its political leaders. Putin himself has never held a job outside the state sector, and his official salary as president is probably little more than $100,000 a year, yet he is widely believed to have personal wealth in the region of tens of billions of dollars, and a string of opulent mansions on vast estates in different parts of the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile his people are lucky to eke out a miserable existence on salaries of a few hundred dollars a month maximum. RT says nothing about any of this; it only points out faults with American society. Yet America’s free market and open society allow RT to be received all over the country, with or without a cable TV package. Imagine an American TV channel broadcast in the Russian language, available for free throughout Russia, relentlessly critical of Russia’s government and society, and financed from the White House budget. This could never happen under Russia’s current regime, because the Russian regime is – de facto – fascist. Furthermore, since RT is global, it is potentially far more dangerous in terms of disseminating falsehoods internationally than any Ukrainian Ministry of Information could be.
Another point worth making about Orwell’s dark satire as it relates to wartime Ukraine is that the book was written in the post-war period. Orwell was a leftist, and his opposition to fascism and support for the war against Hitler were motivated by an appreciation of the greater of two evils. As Hitler was annexing and invading territory on the European continent, many of Orwell’s fellow leftists took a pacifist stance and opposed war, believing some sort of permanent peace could be reached with the Nazi dictator. Orwell – a lifelong anti-fascist – resolutely disagreed. At the same time, however, he had no illusions about the nature of the Stalin regime: he viewed it as an abomination and a betrayal of socialist ideals. Hitler was simply the greater danger in the near term, and this explained the temporary Western alliance with the tyrant dictator and murderer in Moscow. By contrast, many of Orwell’s fellow socialists were not only apologists but supporters of Stalin, and this no doubt included many colleagues at the wartime Ministry of Information. After the war, many British socialists revealed their enduring and enthusiastic Stalinist sympathies, thus giving Orwell the inspiration for the official ideology of Oceania – IngSoc (short for ‘English Socialism’) – with its all-powerful “Party” of the same name, consisting of the sort of people Orwell was forced to live around and work with during the war. The leader of the Party (Big Brother) is a kind of infallible, mustachioed Stalin figure no ordinary person has ever seen in the flesh.
It has been speculated lately that Putin is behaving as if Nineteen Eighty-Four is his bible, and that the West – led by the United States – is his Oceania. This would make sense, since Putin appears only to understand brute force on the world stage, and has seen fit to redraw internationally recognized borders at the point of a bayonet while still expecting to be treated as a peer among world leaders in the 21st century. But Putin’s lack of subtlety in international affairs extends to his understanding of literature, and in the case of Nineteen Eighty-Four, of the story behind the book. It is easy to despair of the injustice of Western capitalism, and of the wars waged in furtherance of corporate greed. But none of that means the West today resembles Oceania in any meaningful sense, or that there is any justification for viewing Ukraine’s government as an extension of totalitarian tyranny. America and the West are plagued with many problems, but they are not totalitarian. Putin’s nationalist-imperialist Russia, by contrast, appears headed in that direction.
1 December 2014
German Families To Sue Ukraine Over MH17 Crash
A German lawyer plans to sue Ukraine for negligence for the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.
Elmar Giemulla, a specialist in aviation law, says he also may also sue Russia.
Giemulla said the lawsuit would be filed at the European Court of Human Rights in the coming weeks on behalf of three German families who lost relatives in the tragedy.
He argued that Kyiv was negligent even if pro-Russian separatists or Russian troops shot down the plane — as Kyiv has claimed.
That, he said, was because aviation law requires a government to close its airspace if it cannot guarantee the security of planes flying through it.
Giemulla reportedly was planning to seek compensation payments of 1 million euros ($1.3 million), for each passenger killed.
He said other relatives of victims can join the lawsuit.