Voices from Russia

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Evromaidantsy Junta Ukraine: War, Mobilisation, and the Failing Ukrainian State

00 smashing taruta's HQ in Donetsk 01. 05.05.14

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The USA and much of the West continue to encourage, even urge, Kiev to continue its suicidal and potentially genocidal “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (ATO) against [Novorossiya], but the Ukrainian state continues its meltdown, which drives wedges between it and what remains of its population. One of the basic functions of viable statehood is an ability to have a monopoly over the means of coercion. This requires a standing army to defend sovereignty over state territory and police forces to enforce its laws. However, having “lost” the Crimea and [Novorossiya], the Evromaidantsy junta led by “President” P A Poroshenko alienated much of the rump Ukraine’s remaining population by pressing forward with the civil war it initiated in April (the “ATO”). To be sure, Poroshenko appears a moderate nationalist, but he’s under immense pressure from national-chauvinistic elements such as the National Front and Fatherland parties and the neo-fascist Radical Party, Right Sector, and Social-National Assembly. Members of these radical blocs form the various volunteer battalions, but they’re now breaking with the state and going rogue. In short, the Ukrainian state could be coming undone.

In a December public opinion survey conducted by Kiev’s “Social Monitoring” group, an overwhelming majority (73 percent) wanted an end to the ATO. Only 19 percent supported its continuation, and 8 percent had no opinion. This reflects a major shift from the beginning of the ATO, when 50.4 percent fully or mostly supported it. Nevertheless, despite growing opposition to the war, Kiev did little to end it. It insisted that the Minsk Memorandum placed the Donetsk Airport… the only site of low-level combat that remained after the autumn ceasefire… on its side of the ceasefire demarcation line, leaving hundreds of troops in the airport, sparking occasional fighting. Last week, after full-scale fighting erupted, in large part because of this step, the protocol or addendum (prilozhenie) to the memorandum signed by Kiev defining the demarcation was published for the first time, clearly revealing that the airport was in the [Novorossiyan] zone (which includes the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR)) (see this and this).

In mid-January the tit-for-tat sniping and small skirmishes escalated into larger-scale fighting at the airport, and junta forces resumed shelling by inaccurate Grad MRLs on Donetsk. The renewed full-scale fighting scuttled a planned meeting of the Minsk Memorandum group scheduled for 16 January. On the same day, President Putin sent a message to Poroshenko suggesting that all sides withdraw heavy artillery beyond striking distance, so that the already-escalating small-scale fighting wouldn’t escalate into full-scale civil war, but Putin said that Kiev rejected his proposal. Kiev hasn’t commented. Then, fighting spread along the front and briefly flared in the south at Mariupol, where an alleged DNR artillery barrage hit a residential area killing 30 and wounding 100 on 24 January.

In response, Poroshenko announced an additional mobilisation of 100,000 men, prompting much draft evasion. Subsequent events showed the junta’s inability to enforce the draft and society’s growing disengagement from the war and the Evromaidantsy junta. Villages revolted against attempts by the Voenkom to enrol draftees, and many potential draftees fled to Russia to hide from the Voenkom. One village in [Podkarpatskaya] hired 26 buses to transport its sons to Russia (see this and this). In another, only 3 of 105 draftees were there to accept their notices. Mass evasion is also in evidence in significantly nationalist and pro-junta provinces. In Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast, 57 percent failed to respond to the draft, 37 percent fled abroad. In Volyn Oblast, 19 percent of draftees refused to serve for religious reasons; in the past, such refusal never exceeded 0.7 percent. According to European Institute of Political Culture Director Aleksandr Bulavin, more than a million Ukrainians evaded mobilisation, presumably throughout the course of the war and several mobilisations.

One shouldn’t assume that one only finds draft resistance amongst liberal democrats or ethnic Hungarian, Romanian, or Rusins opposed to the increasingly ethnic Ukrainian nationalistic Evromaidantsy junta. Poroshenko military advisor Yuri Biryukov raged in anger about false patriotism, “He snoutishly cries ‘Glory to the Ukraine’; each tells everyone else what a patriot he is. He’s the best strategist in the history of our time, able to destroy a battalion tactical reconnaissance group of the enemy by the mere force of thought. Of course, national symbols fill his profile. He’s from Ivano-Frankovsk, Ternopol, Podkarpatskaya, and Volyn Oblasts. He despises the weakness of the Kiev authorities and relishes criticising the president. He foams at the mouth to prove that the use of the Russian language is a sign of the work of the Moskali (derogatory term for ‘Muscovites’). Yet, he’s a cowardly bastard. Tail between his legs, he hides from the Voenkom, changes his phone number, collects his belongings, and hides in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, or Poland. He sits there, pleased with his genius”.

Thus, it appears that many nationalist Ukrainians defect from the new system, as indicated by the failure of the mobilisation in places like Ivano-Frankovsk Oblast, as noted above, and in Ternopol Oblast. This is understandable given the numerous reports of poorly armed and supplied new recruits sent to the Donbass to fight highly motivated patriot forces equipped with Russian arms and with equipment produced by the region’s industrial base. In response, the junta banned draft-eligible men from leaving their home districts, so the Voenkom can track them. In addition, Oleg Boiko, Chief of the Mobilisation Administration of the Defence and Mobilisation Planning Administration of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff stated, “those of draft age are emigrating by whole villages” in a “mass exodus abroad”, so, the Rada is drawing up new legislation is to change the rules for travel abroad by those subject to the military draft. Observing these trends, on 26 January, Putin offered that Russian amend its laws to allow Ukrainians of draft age to stay longer in Russia than the presently-allowed limit of 90 days within any 180-day period to draw potential draftees from Ukraine. In short order… a mere two days later… Russia changed its rules to allow Ukrainians subject to the military draft back home arriving in Russia to remain in the country until the end of the “crisis”.

The junta’s inability to enforce mobilisation, not to mention its inability to inspire most draft-age men to support its war effort, suggests an incapable state and an increasingly unpopular system. So far, there hasn’t been any mass demonstrations against the war, but as the situation on the front continues to deteriorate, this remains a distinct possibility. Recent reports indicate that the Donbass forces are about to close an encirclement surrounding some 7,000 Ukrainian forces at Debaltsevo. Today, Ukrainian media is reporting that Poroshenko is going to fire Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko and replace him with his predecessor, Gennady Vorobiev, removed due to the lustration intended to clean out potentially pro-Russian or pro-Yanukovich officials from the Evromaidantsy junta. This is likely to ruffle feathers amongst nationalist and neofascist elements. Some of them threatened to overthrow Poroshenko, and the Right Sector refused to subordinate its armed members fighting in so-called “volunteer battalions” to the Minoborony Ukrainy. Luckily, recently, its leader, Dmitri Yarosh, was wounded in fighting at Donetsk Airport; perhaps, delaying any subversive plans he and his allies might be hatching.

Continued failure at the front, first witnessed in the rout at Ilovaisk in September, and the consequently growing pressure on the population to support the effort by supplying its sons and treasure from its declining income are bound to drive the wedge deeper between the Evromaidantsy junta and the Ukrainian people it supposedly came to power to serve. In sum, the Ukrainian military and the junta are in increasingly dire straits, both at the front and in the rear.

28 January 2015

Russian and Eurasian Politics: Gordon Hahn

http://gordonhahn.com/2015/01/28/maidan-ukraine-war-mobilization-and-the-failing-ukrainian-state/

Why “Conservative” and “Liberal” Mean NOTHING Now

Boris Olshansky. Jesus and the Money-Changers. 2006

Jesus and the Money-Changers

Boris Olshansky

2006

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Two overused words that people use and should abandon are “conservative” and “liberal”. Firstly, in the USA, there are no actual Conservatives… there’s no analogue to Francisco Franco, Marine le Pen, Graf Stolypin, or John Diefenbaker (Churchill was no Tory… he was a Liberal who turned Tory in later years for political purposes)… and there has never been such. The USA was a Liberal foundation from the first (a written constitution in itself is Liberal to the bone). Secondly, there are no actual Liberals left either, no Gladstone, no Burke, no Foxe, no Macaulay, no Jefferson, no Madison, no Lincoln, no Roosevelt (either TR or FDR… both were Liberal to the max). What DOES separate the Conservative from the Liberal? I’d say that the Conservative mindset is legitimatist… it attends to reality, not to ideas or ideals (unlike American “conservatives”, who wish to conform reality to their neoliberal corporatist delusions). Conservatism actually gives the past a voice (unlike American “conservatives”, who trample on the past and piss on it, like selfish dogs)… this means that many on the Left are Conservative, but that many on the Right are not. For instance, many in the Western media are calling the present Greek coalition ephemeral, that SYRIZA and ANEL will separate because one is “Left” and the other “Right”.

This is superficial and wishful thinking of the lowest possible sort. It’s the kind of thing that you expect from sorts such as Rush Limbaugh, Rod Dreher, and Ann Coulter though… none of them have any real education (it shows in their juvenile styles), ergo, they can’t see beyond the thinnest surface film of reality. There’s much common ground between ANEL and SYRIZA, just as there’s much common ground between the FN and the French left, and between United Russia and the KPRF. Hell, there’s much common ground between the Church and the Left (it has nothing in common with the neoliberal Hard Right US Republican Party)! For instance, both ANEL and SYRIZA want Greece to regain its national sovereignty from the Eurocrats. That’s so important to them that they’ll overlook all sorts of disagreements. It’s like World War II, when FDR said, “If Satan stood against Hitler, I’d send Lend-Lease to Hell”. This alliance will last as long as the danger persists. In other words, the danger posed by the Troika, the IMF, and the Eurocrats (who take their orders from Kaiserin Merkel) overshadows all else so sufficiently that Greece formed a National Unity/United Front government to face it. For as long as the EU poses a threat to Independent Greece, ANEL will hang with the coalition. They’re the “Independent Greeks”, after all. Besides that, another nail holding them together is the neofascist Golden Dawn (Dreher’s drooling pal Taki is a fan of them, I’m told)… both ANEL and SYRIZA are well-aware of the threat that these beasts pose to Greece.

Parenthetically, a Greek friend told me that the reason the KKE didn’t join the coalition openly is that it would’ve given Langley an excuse to stage an Allende murder op (many don’t believe the suicide story… many believe that the coup plotters killed him and called it “suicide”) against Alexis Tsipras. One of the things that the Corporatist media does is to denigrate foreign politicians whose charisma makes them effective anti-American leaders. For instance, look at the obloquy thrown on the head of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini… he managed to focus and unite Iranian resentment and ire to overthrow the Shah’s secret police state, no small thing that. Since he stood against the USA, understandable in that the USA was the main prop, enabler, and supporter of the Pahlavi dictatorship, he became a demon in the Western media narrative. Another such is Marine le Pen… she’s no Nazi, you can’t make that accusation stick. What she IS is Eurosceptic… she believes that France sold off its sovereignty to the EU and NATO; that France is overly subservient to American foreign policy interests, not French national interest. That’s why the Western media routinely calls her “Far Right”. In like manner, the media slammed Alex Salmond, calling him a “dreamy Leftist”… because he wanted to remove Scotland from the American Enterprise (the fact that he wanted to leave the UK didn’t bother Washington… the fact that he wanted to take Scotland out of the American Hegemony did). I needn’t mention the mud tossed at V V Putin… I’d only say that he scares them sufficiently for them to lie about him, doesn’t he?

Now, let’s get back to Tsipras (I do daresay that the above excursus was necessary)… the Americans hate Tsipras because he’s that rara avis, an honest politician. Tsipras is like V I  Lenin (who’s one of his idols, by the way)… he’s not personally corrupted or corruptible. Tsipras CHOOSES to live in a working class neighbourhood… trust me, he doesn’t need to live in a gated community, like the American neoliberal “conservatives” and their “Ukrainian” running dog lackeys. The people watch for strange goings-on, and, let me assure you, they’d ACT if they saw anything suspicious (I’d say that they’ve already done so and one (or more) Langley assets have already taken the long sleep with the fishies off Piraeus). He’s not changed his direction since his days as a student activist. He named his son after Che Guevara. He’s made no secret of the fact that he’s a socialist and that he doesn’t accept the crank American narrative of the post-1991 world. That is, he’s honest… he’s charismatic… he’s popular… he’s determined… he’s persistent… he’s everything that the US Republican Party and the interventionists in the US Democratic Party hate. He’s a foreigner who dares to secede from the American Hegemony. That’s happened four times before… in Cuba, in Nicaragua, in Vietnam, and Iran. In every case, the USA dropped diplomatic relations in a fit of pique, and didn’t resume them for years (in the case of Iran, it hasn’t resumed them, even 36 years after the fall of the Pahlavis). Furthermore, Tsipras threatens not just the Eurozone, but the EU itself.

Let’s get back to “conservative” and “liberal”… in many ways, ANEL and SYRIZA are more alike than different. Both are patriotic… do note that American “conservatives” imply that only righties (and Radical Sectarian righties at that) are the only “true patriots”. I’d say that the US Republican Party’s nomination of the draft-dodger Willy Romney put the lie to that. Both wish the keep Greek resources in Greece… that is, they don’t want the labour of Greeks to go to enrich German and American banksters and their political toadies. Both support a vigorous social welfare apparatus… so that no one lives in poverty. Both support leaving the Eurozone and the EU and cutting a deal with Russia (and the TS EvrAsES). Both are defenders of Greek sovereignty over the rule of supranational bodies. That’s looks like a LOT of overlap to me! In fact, a Greek friend of mine in the KKE said that the Party supports the aims of the coalition government, but decided not to join it for tactical reasons. Most of all, the coalition, both SYRIZA and ANEL, want to keep hands off the internal affairs of the Church. Tsipras isn’t a believer… but that doesn’t mean that’s he’s amoral in the American Republican mould. Believers have to face the fact that Secularists (a better term than atheist, as it focuses on what someone’s for, not what someone’s against) are as moral as any other sort of people. We have to stop demonising such people. Alexis Tsipras isn’t going to persecute the Church… but the Golden Dawn would; they’re the only actual alternative to the present coalition.

Let’s get back to my original premise… “conservative” and “liberal” have become outdated and useless labels. A Conservative would say, “Mankind is fallen, therefore, we can’t leave people to their own devices, for they’ll choose evil if it enriches them”… this isn’t the credo of the US Republican Party or of its Yahoo Sectarian (“Evangelical”) base. A Liberal would say, “Mankind is good, therefore, we must leave people to their own devices, for they’ll choose good, for that’ll profit them”. One can see that neither US political party embodies either philosophy… but that the Republicans are closer to the Liberal ideal; they aren’t Conservative in the smallest-possible way (making Rod Dreher’s bloviations on the American Conservative both derisive and vacuous). The American Experiment has been LIBERAL from the top… there has NEVER been a conservative government there, and as long it follows its Liberal foundations, there never shall be such. Those who call themselves “conservatives” are liars; furthermore, they’re liars who refuse to see clear truth (to think that they call the Arch-Liberal Burke a “conservative”… I’ll check into Bedlam with Mr Scrooge!); they’re drunk on an illusory ideal of a Right-Anarchist Laissez-Faire Paradise (which, please God, will never come to be).

I’ve got news for “leftists”… many who now identify as “conservatives” are open to a Patriotic-Left narrative. That is, large enterprises in state ownership, but with private ownership of small businesses (and laws to ensure that businesses such as retail sales, food service, and consumer services stay in local hands), with national healthcare, with army/national service based on universal conscription (all men and women serve at high school graduation for two years in the military or in public service civilian posts of national significance… NO EXCEPTIONS… NO WILLY ROMNEYS), and a fair tax code for all. Socialism is doable, but we must understand that we shouldn’t interpret Karl Marx like the Fundies interpret the Holy Bible. We must guard against Kochs and Limbaughs… but we must also guard against government overreach. The US World War II economy proved that central planning worked, but it’s also clear from experience that many types of service are best handled on the small-scale. Let’s have local diners, not Mickey Dee’s… let’s have regional food markets and retail stores… not Wal-Mart. Let’s have an army recruited from all the people, not a mercenary force recruited from the most-backward portions of society. Let’s put DUTY ahead of PROFIT. The opposite is true today… Rush Limbaugh, Rod Dreher, Bill O’Reilly, Antonin Scalia, and Sean Hannity all were “white feathers”… they didn’t serve, but they’re for all the wars blazing throughout the world.

If you hear anyone labelling themselves “conservative” or “liberal”, you’ve probably run into a phoney of the first water. My advice? Go as fast as possible, as far as possible, from such sorts. They’re unreachable. We CAN save ourselves from the neoliberal morass that we’re in, but SHALL we? That’s up to us…

BMD

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