In Kiev, there are quite open preparations for the overthrow of President P A Poroshenko. The sluggish political campaign for the early elections due for the Verkhovnaya Rada in six months intensified, shown by demonstrations by the Nazis of the Azov Battalion and a sharp decline in working-class living standards. Another trigger for this was the shocking car-bomb terakt that killed journalist P G Sheremet. Media reports said that he was under “illegal police surveillance”. It looked like an exact replay of the “Gongadze affair“… a match down to the smallest detail (from the involvement of Sheremet’s paramour Prytula to the police surveillance).
The trigger for the coup may be riots prepared by Nazi elements, probably, through an attack on the UPTs/MP peace march. The two streams of this religious procession are converging on Kiev from both sides… one cohort coming from Svyatogorsk Lavra of the Holy Assumption in the east and another from Pochaev Lavra of the Holy Assumption in the west… in a week, they’re due to meet in the Ukrainian capital. Opponents of the Kiev authorities believe that this religious procession could bring a half-million people onto the streets of Kiev. Even if these estimates exaggerate, it’s clear that tens or even hundreds of thousands of Orthodox anti-fascists, agitating against the war, constitute a legal political alternative to the régime, something that the junta tried to suppress by banning the KPU, by silencing opposition media, and by taking repressive measures against anti-fascist activists.
Poroshenko may still try to play the Orthodox card in his favour by supporting the peace initiatives, hiding behind religious procession from radical elements, to try to deploy society against the radicals. However, at present, the radicals themselves can’t prevent the emergence in the formal political arena of organised alternatives to them. Attempts to protect the religious procession via the normal power structures might lead to a split in the security forces themselves, many of whom support the Nazis… after two years of purges; they’re in the majority. In addition, any confrontation of the Nazis with the power structure (the use of weapons would be all too probable) would undermine the régime’s support. No matter who’d “win” such a confrontation, both sides would actually lose. Finally, in terms of propaganda, the radicals would use any attempt by Poroshenko to protect “the Moscow padres” from “patriots” as clear evidence of “treason”. Then, they could easily channel the anger of anti-Orthodox Nazi yobbos towards Poroshenko.
Why No One Overthrew Poroshenko Until Now
The “behind closed doors” reasons for Poroshenko’s ouster are of long-standing. On the first day of his presidency, most Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs lined up against him, as this would drive redistributing the national (and private) resources in their favour. In the first year of his presidency, Poroshenko avoided a coup solely because of the chaotic nature of Ukrainian politics. Kiev pols really believed that the USA and EU would rush right in to help them financially, so, they tried not to anger their putative sugar daddies. Therefore, they showed naïve timidity before American and European demands. Ergo, “don’t upset Poroshenko” became the only guarantor of stability. In this regard, the West was right… if Yanukovich was the last legitimate Ukrainian President, then, Poroshenko was its last illegitimate president. I know that many won’t agree with my assessment of his illegitimacy, pointing to the fact that Poroshenko had international recognition. However, this actually means nothing at all. The Bolsheviks, Franco, Pinochet, and many other régimes that came to power in Asia, Africa, and Latin America because of pro-American or pro-Soviet coups had international recognition. This doesn’t negate the fact that as they took power they violated internal constitutional procedures; from the point of view of national constitutionality, such régimes were illegitimate.
They couldn’t give Poroshenko legitimacy. Two years after his “election”, his approval rating fluctuates between 2 to 5 percent. Nevertheless, the Ukraine’s inability to provide a stable and independent basis for a state disappointed the West, and Russia began to realise that nothing in the Ukraine corresponded to actual reality, so, Poroshenko became the lesser evil. The next Ukrainian President simply won’t be able to get international legitimacy by claiming that he toppled a “bloody tyrant” and that a “national hero” replaced him. Poroshenko’s collapse would mean that the Ukraine’s dissolution would move from a latent phase, where regional power centres ignore Kiev, to an active phase.
A Spectacle of Regional Sovereignties
For a long time, Kiev hasn’t been able to give local authorities anything, so, regional centres are trying to pick up what remains. Local authorities have their own militias, formed from Nazi hooligans, embodied in territorial defence battalions. The collapse of the national economy led to an alternative market arising. Under these conditions, with homegrown networks in each region, each locality is much more stable than the Ukraine as a whole is. Poroshenko is still a symbol of international recognition (so regional power centres choose not to risk to opt out of the “nation” just yet), as well as being the last factor ensuring relative unity in the army and other security agencies. However, if he goes, then, decomposition would accelerate sharply, not least because regional power centres would have to solve many problems immediately without regard to Kiev. Both Russia and the West understand this, but neither Moscow nor Brussels have sufficient influence to shape the situation in the Ukraine. Ukrainian politicians have lost faith in the absolute power of the West, so, they’ve flip-flopped to the other extreme… they think that anyone who’d win any internal struggle for power in the Ukraine would automatically become the West’s darling.
How the Mechanism of the Coup would Operate
Thus, one sees that the people hate Poroshenko (over falling living standards), the Nazis hate him (for being an oligarch and of Jewish descent), and his fellow-oligarchs hate him (because he controls the remnants of material resources). However, since a coup against Poroshenko didn’t occur in the last two years, I think that the most probable time for such a move would be the first half of October. At this time, the American election campaign would be in its final phases, virtually paralysing the US federal governmental apparat until February 2017. The rebels would have about four undisturbed months to divvy up the spoils and patronage without interference from unwanted external “mediators”. Indeed, developing events in Kiev show that interested parties have initiated the mechanism of a coup; only a rare stroke of luck or his opponents’ stupidity could help Poroshenko survive.
In addition to the abovementioned facts, I’d point up the panic amongst political circles and “expert” elements in Kiev. Recently, important and influential Ukrainian politicians and experts who’d predicted the collapse of Russia and its dissolution, now scream with one voice about the dangers of Ukrainian destabilisation. Moreover, many speak openly about an impending coup. Even the usually sycophantic political analyst Vadim Karasev suddenly lost it, advising Poroshenko to urgently follow the example of Erdoğan and write a penitential letter to Putin… only surrender to Russia could save Poroshenko from a coup. I doubt that even if it wanted to that Russia would be able to do this, but the very fact that hysteria leads some to bet on Putin as the last hope of “Ukrainian democracy” is telling. This tells us that a beleaguered Poroshenko understands that Russia would find his overthrow currently unprofitable… the Kremlin won’t support any possible putschists. As we’ve just said, it isn’t profitable for the West either. So, what are the putschists betting on? Surely, they must realise that they can’t survive in complete isolation. The Ukraine isn’t North Korea.
Who’d Support the Rebels
Today, there’s an implacable struggle in American politics between dovish isolationists, represented by Trump and his faction, and hawkish interventionists, who bet on Clinton. The isolationists want a stable situation in the Ukraine prior to the American election. The interventionists wouldn’t mind using chaos in the Ukraine as propaganda (to criticise Obama’s lack of firmness and Trump’s “opportunism”). In addition, they want to aggravate any Ukrainian crisis to entangle the USA into a serious confrontation with Russia, so that any ensuing administration wouldn’t be able to change the course of American foreign policy. In fact, the interventionists wouldn’t mind to start a “little war” involving American allies and Russia, which would force any future administration to support such “allies”, until there was a risk of an all-out war with Russia. The hawks truly believe that Moscow would kowtow to them under the risk of nuclear blackmail at the last moment.
The isolationists control official decision-making institutions. Therefore, officially, the USA is trying to establish a constructive dialogue with Russia (Kerry’s visit to Moscow). The interventionists have many supporters in the State Department and the Pentagon, which, without having formal authority, nevertheless promise American support for any insurgency capable of giving Russia trouble. The attempted coup in Turkey, as well as destabilisation attempts in Armenia and Kazakhstan, didn’t yield the desired effect. The Ukraine is the last trump card of the interventionists. The main thing is that there are objective conditions for a rebellion. It isn’t necessary to organise it, the rebels don’t need help; therefore, the USA wouldn’t have to take any responsibility. They need only to nod in time, and everything will go by itself.
The overthrow of Poroshenko doesn’t simply mean intensifying the collapse of the Ukraine, but also the beginning of a bloodbath throughout the country. The DNR and LNR would have an easier time of it, since the Ukrainian forces would fall apart in a time of Makhnoshchina*. The interventionists calculate that if they used the Libyan or Syrian scenario in the Ukraine, the Kremlin wouldn’t be able to keep out of it. They want to draw Russia into the conflict, to make Russia act against its long-term interests, giving the USA room for manoeuvre.
- Makhnoshchina: time of anarchy and disorder, with collapse of state structures, function, and order. After N I Makhno, a prominent anarchist at the time of the Civil War.
Thus, we see that any possible rebellion in the Ukraine, with subsequent escalation in the current civil war, would lead to a Makhnoshchina, which would disintegrate the remaining residue of Ukrainian statehood. That situation has the danger of changing a major regional conflict into a global crisis. The possibility that Poroshenko could localise any rebellion is extremely limited. One hopes that he’d be lucky. He wouldn’t be able to avoid the worst-case scenario; he’d only postpone it. However, time is one of the most important strategic factors. In the first half of 2017, much in the world will change. We should start to see tangible results of Russian strategic successes later in 2016, which means that the global balance would clearly begin to move in our favour. The conflict is now one that we don’t need in the least. We’re almost on the other shore; it’d be a shame to let the whirlpool suck us under due to uncontrollable events at the last moment.
22 July 2016