Voices from Russia

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Aleksei Zhuravko: There’s Hysteria in Kiev

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Dear Friends!

There’s hysteria in Kiev. The authorities didn’t conceal their anger and disappointment at statements emanating from Hungary. Security officials demanded that the Verkhovnaya Rada act against “separatists” in Zakarpatya who declared a Zakarpatya Peoples Republic. The keyword was “demanded”. This seems to tell me that after diplomatic notes, after the use of force, we’ll see another Republic arise. Yes… Poland will have something to say, too.

In Respect,

Aleksei Zhuravko

18 November 2017

Igor Krupikov

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Saturday, 11 November 2017

Aleksei Zhuravko: “Soon, Everybody Will Turn Away From the Ukraine, Including its American Masters”

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Dear Friends!

The herd [on the Maidan] shouted:

The whole world’s with us! The Ukraine is part of Europe!

Yet, today, we see Poles burning the Ukrainian flag. More and more, we see beatings of Ukrainians in Poland. Poles hold street rallies demanding that their government stop the flow of Ukrainian migrants. The “European” government of the Ukraine, which took power via a coup d ‘état, brought the country to a complete collapse through its domestic and foreign policy. Soon, everybody will turn away from the Ukraine, including its American masters.

In respect,

Aleksei Zhuravko

11 November 2017

Igor Krupikov

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Friday, 10 November 2017

The Ukraine: A State Run by the Rich, For the Rich

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This month, Ukrainian President P A Poroshenko found himself uncomfortably exposed. His name was in the Paradise Papers, which revealed how Poroshenko, through his business entanglements and offshore dealings, is involved in far-reaching tax evasion schemes. As war with Russian-backed elements ravages his country, the leaks illustrate how Poroshenko puts his business interests above his public duties. Nobody should be surprised to find Poroshenko among the Who’s Who of international tax dodgers. Despite his public opining on how financially-motivated wrongdoing “paralysed” the Ukrainian economy, Poroshenko is no stranger to corruption. Elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2014, he promised to sell his confectionary company, Roshen, to avoid any conflict of interest between his commercial endeavours and running the country. Predictably, however, he instead began exploring loopholes that’d enable him to profit from the company while running the country.

The first time his corruption schemes came out was in April 2016 when the Panama Papers mentioned him. Far from relinquishing his business, the leak showed he’d set up a complex offshore structure that remained under his control. He admitted to having done so but claimed this was in preparation for handing the company over to a trust. However, this latest investigation reveals no such thing happened. On the contrary, a lawyer working on Poroshenko’s behalf wrote to an offshore specialist in the Isle of Man to set up a labyrinthine company structure involving entities in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Cyprus for tax purposes.

If only Poroshenko invested the same energy into solving his country’s political problems as he does in protecting his own commercial interests, perhaps the Ukraine wouldn’t be in quite such a crisis. These revelations came at a time when the conflict in the former eastern Ukraine, which has simmered for three years, is worsening. The UN noted that there were 375 conflict-related civilian casualties (67 deaths and 308 injuries) in the first six months of 2017, a surge of 74 percent over the same period in 2016. According to the UN, this is due to the changing nature of the conflict, which isn’t only intensifying but also increasingly fought out with heavy weaponry in civilian areas. Since the conflict began, the Ukrainian economy nosedived and it continues to stumble. Investment giant Moody’s noted that in 2017-18 per capita GDP in the Ukraine will remain the lowest in the Commonwealth of Independent States and that the population would continue to be “very poor”. Add to this the problem of homelessness, compounded by 1.7 million internally-displaced people (IDPs), it’s easy to see that the country’s socio-economic conditions are untenable.

As these events unfold, Poroshenko looks out for his associates in high-ranking political and economic positions, who benefit greatly from the war. A prime example is the booming defence industry. The state-owned weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom reported a 100 percent fulfilment of state defence orders and a 25 percent increase in exports in 2016. It also happens that Roman Romanov (a close Poroshenko ally) heads the firm. Romanov is hardly an exception because reports say that the Ukraine’s top defence managers syphoned off almost 3.8 million USD (225.71 million Roubles. 25.24 million Renminbi. 248.37 million INR. 4.82 million CAD. 4.96 million AUD. 3.26 million Euros. 2.89 million UK Pounds) from funds allocated for spare parts for armoured vehicles. Secrecy around where public money goes is endemic and whilst the Ukrainian defence sector now loses far fewer weapons and other equipment to theft, it’s clear that money wends its way from the public purse into private pockets by other means.

However, in this case, the misappropriation of funds is the smaller evil. Heavier weighs the fact that, by doing so, the Ukraine’s élite betrays the Ukrainian war effort and the soldiers on the front lines. Yet, in a display of circular thinking, Poroshenko uses the war as a justification for downgrading the importance of the issue and allowing the status quo to continue… given that the conflict allows so many of his cronies to prosper. However, it’s becoming clear that Poroshenko can’t protect the status quo indefinitely, as combat veterans increasingly show public indignation. Angered that the state uses them as an excuse for its failed promises, they’ve become the main source of anti-corruption protests. Whether their anger will suffice to be a catalyst for change in public life remains is open to question, but the fact that soldiers, exhausted from fighting against military stalemate and neglect, means Poroshenko can no longer simply ignore society’s demands for change.

There are signs that the president is starting to feel the heat. Last month, protests in front of the Rada building drew around 6,000 people, demanding that lawmakers lose their judicial immunity from prosecution. In what seems like an attempt to appease the masses, Poroshenko submitted a bill to revoke the immunity clause… although it’d only come into effect in 2020. It’s high time the Ukraine changes its ways, but with Poroshenko at the helm, this is unlikely to happen. However, the country’s failure to rein in corruption is beginning to undermine support from the EU and USA in its fight against Russia. That the West will stand beside Ukraine unconditionally is no longer a given. For now, the conflict intensifies and the political élite continue to get richer while the broader population continues to suffer. Change in the Ukraine can’t come too soon.

9 November 2017

Nathan Dabrowski

International Policy Digest

https://intpolicydigest.org/2017/11/09/ukraine-a-state-run-by-the-rich-for-the-rich/

Editor:

This is from a pro-neoliberal American source. Poroshenko’s days are numbered. It looks like the USA is going to back the Galician Uniate ultras and its poodles in the EU and Canada will follow suit (for now, at least). The Ukrainian state is a failed enterprise, made even more so by deliberate Western-inspired deindustrialisation (do note that the American author didn’t cover that aspect, did he?). The most that the Uniate ultras can do is to accelerate the fall of the present state structure. In that case, Russia would snap up Novorossiya, Poland would grab the Lvovshchina, Hungary would take in Podkarpatskiya, and Romania would gather its bits and pieces. The American coup in Kiev in 2014 was a February Revolution, only sustained due to external support. In the present Ukrainian scenario, “October” is in the wings. As with all such events, all bets are off and no one knows what’ll ensue. That’s why Russia hasn’t stepped in. Unlike the toddler Anglos, they know what chaos brings… it isn’t a “bright future”… that, all Russians know all too well.

By the way, do note that the Ukrainian defence apparat is as corrupt as is that of its American puppeteers. They’re salting away money for when they have to flee the pitchforks of the people. A sign of the times is that the Voenkom (the agency in charge of conscription) only takes bribes in Roubles, Euros, or USDs. They know something that we don’t…

BMD

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Aleksei Zhuravko: “What Kind of Country Do We Want to Leave Our Children and Grandchildren?”

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Dear Friends!

I offer my sincere congratulations today as Russians celebrate the Day of National Unity! Some say it’s a new and made-up holiday, but I think it’s a wonderful holiday; Russia needs it. Moreover, it’s a pity that there’s no such celebration in the Ukraine. Some say that we have a Day of Unity*, but it’s a very different thing.

  • A V Zhuravko uses two different Russian words for “unity”. Firstly, he uses “едиснтва”, the derivation from the Russian word for “one” is apparent. That is, unity as a singularity. Secondly, he uses “соборности”, which is a trickier word to “English”. It comes from the Russian word that denotes an “assembly”, or a “cathedral”, or a “collection”. It implies “togetherness” or “collected”, but necessarily “oneness” (it can mean that, but it depends on the context… here, it’s obvious that it doesn’t). In addition, he uses Россияне, not Русский, for “Russian”. The first connotes a citizen of the Russian state (who needn’t be ethnic Russian); the second designates an ethnic Russian (who needn’t be a citizen of the Russian state).

Judge for yourself… the Ukrainian day celebrates the country. That is, a piece of land. We drew some boundaries on a map; it involves the people living within these borders. Because of this approach, we now have a civil war. We kill former Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass and try (extremely unsuccessfully) to starve the Crimeans because the land and marks on a map are more important to us than the people living on these lands are. Often, people accuse Russia of imperialism, but “empire” is when we value territories and lands more than the peoples who live there… in this sense, the Ukraine has far more imperial issues than Russia does.

The day of National Unity isn’t about the land… it’s about people and about the nationalities who live in Russia. Over 190 different nationalities live together in Russia! They create and develop what is Russia. Russia has 22 republics with 37 official languages. Besides these, 15 more languages have official status in Russia! Friends, imagine this number of different ethnicities and cultures working together to build a common future… there’s nothing else like it anywhere else in the world! By the way, I’d like to point up something about the Crimea. Under the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages have official status. On the other hand, the Ukraine, where more than half of people speak and think in Russian, couldn’t give Russian official status in 25 years, whereas in the Crimea, where (at most) 10 percent speak Ukrainian, the Russian Federation resolved the issue of the official status of the Ukrainian language immediately upon the Crimea’s accession to the Russian state. The unity of different peoples, ethnicities, religions, and languages for the sake of a common cause is the foundation of a federal system of statehood. E Pluribus Unum… “out of many one”… we love this motto from the USA. However, that’s why some are afraid of a federal system.

My Friends!

Fellow Ukrainians!

On this Russian Day of National Unity, I encourage all of us to think about what kind of country we want to leave our children and grandchildren. Do we want a country where the state values its territory above all, prepared to kill its own citizens by the thousands to preserve this territory? On the other hand, do we want a country where different peoples, different faiths, different religions, and different subgroups come together to form a Ukrainian Federation and work for the common good? For me, the choice is obvious. It’s clear that no matter how much the authorities try to demonise Russia, we’ll always be brothers and one people.

Guys, let’s live together!

In respect,

Aleksei Zhuravko

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