Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

14 October 2014. As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky. We Have Long Arms!

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. We Have Long Arms! 2014


This is Podvitsky’s commentary on the “resignation” of Valery Geletei, the so-called “Defence Minister of the Ukraine”. Geletei wasn’t a military man (unlike most Defence Ministers on the post-Soviet space)… he was only a policeman who protected political figures. Yushchenko made him a Colonel General! Fancy that… it didn’t save him from rustication during Yanukovich’s time. Doglike in loyalty… yes… competent in military affairs… no. He claimed that Russia invaded the Ukraine… that’s absurd… Russian offensive doctrine wasn’t followed and there were no discernible Russian forces on the ground. There WERE plenty of junta troops who switched sides and joined the patriots, though! One of Geletei’s more quaint outbursts was that he claimed that Russia used nuclear weapons against junta forces. Yes… he did threaten to invade the Crimea… you can see why Podvitsky pictured him as a madman in restraints.

“Off with their heads!” One expects the Jabberwocky and the Queen of Hearts in Kiev… it wouldn’t surprise anybody…




Friday, 14 February 2014

Will the Ukraine Split in Two?

00 Kiev riots. 13.02.14


Not for the first time, the question arises of the Ukraine possibly splitting into two parts… West and East. It seems that history itself gives the answer to this question. Despite the fact that Ukrainians voted for different candidates and that their cultural differences are clearly visible today, the Eastern Ukraine, which earlier belonged to the Russian Empire, and the Western Ukraine, which earlier was under Austria-Hungary, Poland, and Romania, have lived in peace in one state for 20 years now. This state of affairs was to the liking of the post-Soviet Russian élite; in fact, they gave up claims to the Crimea, which wasn’t part of the Ukraine until the time of Khrushchyov, for the sake of stability and calm in the neighbourhood. The Ukraine’s unity wasn’t called into question by its citizens either… nationalists living in the Western Ukraine regarded the Ukrainian nation’s unification into a single state… the result of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact… as a benefit, and Eastern Ukrainian businessmen had nothing against “Europe” and “independence”.

From the first, the EU and the USA didn’t stop reminding the Eastern and Western Ukraine about their differences, about their alleged irreconcilability. During the second round of the Maidan events (the first round was in 2004, when supporters of Viktor Yushchenko went on protests, to make him the President of the Ukraine), this confrontation reached its peak. However, before that, EU and American media outlets, supposedly civilised, pictured Eastern Ukrainians as not fully human. Once, Newsweek even used the term ‘homo sovieticus’, which Aleksandr Zinovyev, a Russian academic, invented for other uses. Denis Kiryukhin, a specialist at the Kiev Centre for Political Studies and Conflict Management, said, “Now, the success of its propaganda frightens the EU… feral sorts came to the fore in the Western Ukrainian opposition, who can cause the EU much trouble if there were ‘European Integration’. The ideological intention of the ultras and radicals is to conduct a thoroughgoing revolution in the country, to establish a dictatorship based on nationality, and not carrying out a state coup. Their ideology posits an ethnocracy, with ethnic Ukrainians lording it over all others”.

Sowing seeds of discord between Russian-speakers and Ukrainian–speakers in the Ukraine was a very difficult, but achievable, task, as the events of the past 10 years showed. The “Orange government” of Yushchenko and Timoshenko, as well as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich‘s behaviour to please local nationalists added much to the discord-sowing process. At the least, Yanukovich was several years late with his statement about extremists in the country, which he made some time ago. The point is that the young people who threw Molotov cocktails at the cops, and who occupied Kiev with neo-Nazi slogans written on their banners, needed time to mature. They studied at schools and institutes… now, it’s clear why the opposition offered a fierce resistance to the reforms of Education Minister Dmitri Tabachnik. His attempts to return Russian classical literature to Ukrainian schools hampered the maturing of all those who fight now under the slogan, “The Ukraine Above All!” This is nothing but the Nazi slogan “Deutschland über alles” translated into Ukrainian. As you might remember, during last year’s heated debates about the language law, both the EU and the USA took the side of the Ukrainian nationalists. Thus, figuratively speaking, they drove a wedge into the Ukraine, where relative ethnic peace reigned supreme for many years, but the Ukrainian authorities ignored it.

Today, the Nationalists strive for absolute power over the entire Ukraine. They don’t merely want to run the cabinet of ministers or even to take over the presidency. They want to control both the legislative and the executive power. To meet this aim, they want new elections and they wish the reinstitution of the 2004 Constitution, as nationalists believer it’ll weaken Yanukovich. However, there’s a complication… the Ukraine is a centralised state; officials in Kiev decide almost everything. Therefore, if ethnocentric nationalists seized absolute power in Kiev, the Russian-speaking eastern regions would secede. Professor Valery Solovey, of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, noted, “The presidential side can try to federalise the Ukraine now. Even though it’s a risky affair, it can end beneficial. It isn’t a slavish return to the 2004 Constitution, but it adds amendments to the Constitution establishing the Ukraine as a federal state with a corresponding restriction of central authority in the regions”.

In 2005, when the EU and the USA pulled out a victory in the presidential election for Viktor Yushchenko, the Party of Regions attempted to establish autonomy in the eastern regions. Then, they weren’t successful because the Ukrainian élite and Ukrainian oligarchs struck a bargain to divide power and capital. It’s very doubtful whether they’d be able to do the same now. Oligarchs can enjoy power only when the grassroots are relatively passive. Like ships in olden days, oligarchs can pour oil on troubled waters, and, in this way, smooth out small waves around their business liners. However, when the masses roil into a rage, no oil can save anyone’s life from the waves on this ocean, and the oligarchs with all their capital and all the corrupt officials could end up on the rocks. That’s the exact situation gelling now. The genie of Ukrainian nationalism is out of the bottle… it’s impossible to push it back in.

In conclusion, we can say the following. At present, centrifugal forces in Ukrainian society aren’t strong enough yet to pull the state apart. Both western and eastern regions realise that if the country split, the east would immediately fall under EU and American sanctions, and the west would fail as a state without eastern subsidies. Russia takes a neutral and balanced position in this conflict between the Ukrainian west and east, but still the European media accuse Russia of interfering in the situation. Nevertheless, centrifugal forces might receive a strong impetus from nationalists on the Maidan, from the EU dallying with nationalists, and from Yatsenyuk and Klichko trying to ride on the nationalist wave. If the Ukraine falls apart, it’ll be on their conscience.

5 February 2014

Dmitri Babich

Voice of Russia World Service



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Saturday, 23 November 2013

“From the Very Beginning, the EU insisted that the Ukraine Couldn’t have Joint Membership in a Free Trade Zone with the EU and in a Free Trade Zone with Russia”



Ricardo Young

Big story about the Ukraine’s possible membership in the EU… it’s now suspended. What’s the story behind the story?

Dmitri Babich

Well, we need to clarify several things. First, at the Vilnius summit of the EU, which takes place on 28 November, the Ukraine planned to sign a so-called association agreement. It doesn’t mean that the Ukraine would become an EU member; it just means that the Ukraine would become a part of a free economic zone, a free trade zone with the EU. This is a tricky issue.

I’d like to stress that it’s important for the USA, because they invested billions of dollars into persuading the Ukraine to turn its back on Russia and snuggle up to the EU. Pro-American President Viktor Yushchenko lost the Ukrainian presidential election in 2010, but then, the new President, Viktor Yanukovich, also said that he wanted the Ukraine to associate itself with the EU. That was the cause of many scandals and disagreements between the Ukraine and Russia, because, from the beginning, the EU insisted that the Ukraine couldn’t have joint membership in a free trade zone with the EU and in a free trade zone with Russia.

Right now, the problem is that Russia and the Ukraine have a de facto free trade zone. Large amounts of Ukrainian goods enter Russia customs free. Therefore, Russia’s fear was that if the Ukraine joins the EU economic space, if it joins the Russian free trade zone, then, European goods would just flood the Russian market, from the Ukrainian-Russian border all the way up to Vladivostok, and that’d destroy Russian domestic industry. Consequently, Russia made it very clear to the Ukraine that if it joined a free trade zone with the EU, then, Russia would create a real border with the Ukraine, with customs, taxes, and all the things associated with border crossing. At the last moment, the Ukraine, just days before the Vilnius summit, announced that it was suspending measures that’d make it eligible for association membership with the EU.

Of course, Ukrainian society is badly split, because much of Ukrainian society is nationalistic and anti-Russian, which says that Yanukovich stole Europe from us. Already, they use terms like it being treason against the European dream of the Ukraine. Of course, the US State Department already expressed its disappointment with the Ukrainian move. In fact, it’s very funny, because for many years the USA said that it wanted to protect Ukrainian sovereignty, that the Ukraine is an independent state, that no one should interfere, especially Russia. Now, when the Ukraine took a sovereign decision, we have American and EU diplomats expressing viewpoints, in essence, insulting the Ukraine for its choice.


Is there anything to allegations that Russia didn’t want the Ukraine to go westward, that it wanted it to go eastward in its political and economic ties? Russia does supply much energy to the Ukraine. Is there any sign that it might affect the flow of energy to the Ukraine if they indeed pursued associate membership in the EU?


I think when you see a partner reorienting its industry to another part of the world, it’s natural for any country to pursue its own interests. This is true for the West. This is true for the East. It’s a question of words. Of course, you can use expressions like, “Russia wants the Ukraine to go eastward, not westward. Russia wants the Ukraine in the same economic space with Russia, to trade with Russia, to develop its industry together with Russia”. I wouldn’t say that this is anti-European, because, as Mikhail Gorbachyov once said, “We should build Europe from the east and from the west”.

Why do we think that all the nice things necessarily come from the West alone? We have the fascinating cultural phenomenon of Eastern Europe, which comprises Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, possibly, I’d say Poland and the Baltic states. Yes, these countries have a close relationship; they’ve been part of the same economic space, of the same civilisation, for a long time. I don’t see why these countries are worse than France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Some of these Eastern European countries are actually doing better economically than Greece or Italy. So, Russia wants the Ukraine to stay with Russia, to be with Russia, Russia doesn’t want the Ukraine to build a wall, separating itself from Russia, and Russia supplies natural gas and oil to the Ukraine, and what Russia did was to say that if that Ukraine continues to turn its back on Russia, then, Russia would charge the market price for its oil and gas. The Ukraine has no other source of cheap oil and gas other than Russia. Therefore, indeed, it’s a just requirement. We should say, “If you want to trade with us, if you want us to give you trade privileges, be polite. Don’t say things like, ‘We’re Europeans, and you aren’t Europeans, we’re anthropologically superior’”. When I say “anthropologically superior”, I’m quoting official documents from one of the nationalist Ukrainian parties, which unfortunately, has support from many EU politicians. Accordingly, indeed, Russia made it very clear to the Ukraine that we’re brothers, we’re related in all respects, but you must be polite if you want us to be nice to you in economic terms.


Is the issue of Yuliya Timoshenko, is her situation in any way related to the EU situation with the Ukraine?


Right now, I think its losing relevance, but I think it played an important role during the last few weeks. The problem was that as Yanukovich braced up for this Vilnius summit, he expected the EU to be more lenient to him and not demand him to release Timoshenko for medical treatment in Western Europe, but the EU leaders, before they made it a sine qua non, said that if Timoshenko wasn’t released, the Ukraine isn’t going to get association membership, then, the situation became very blurred during the last few weeks. It looked like the EU would sign the deal, even if Timoshenko was still in prison, then, just days before the signature, EU Commissioner Štefan Füle came to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, and Yanukovich asked him, “What are you going to give to the Ukraine to compensate it for the economic losses that we’ve already suffered, economic losses from severing our ties with Russia?” Füle just said something about democracy, and rule of law, and being in the same space with the most-civilised countries in the world, then, he demanded Timoshenko’s release again. Probably, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, for the next day, Yanukovich said that he wouldn’t refuse in future to join an association agreement with the EU, but that, for now, he postponed this decision. Most likely, no one will take it at the EU Summit in Vilnius. Actually, the Ukrainian representative in the customs union with Russia officially said that he’d love to see the Ukraine, the EU, and Russia come to some sort of deal that’d make it possible for the Ukraine to trade freely with both entities, with Russia and the EU. However, I think it isn’t possible, primarily, because of the EU’s position, which is, “It’s either us or Russia”.

23 November 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

The only groups in the Ukraine that are gung-ho for the EU are the Uniates and schismatic Orthodox (and here). Don’t forget, Yanukovich inherited the EU association process from the pro-American running-dog collaborator, Yushchenko. He spun it out as long as he did for two reasons. Firstly, he wanted to see what the West had on offer. They had nothing… they, in fact, expected him to fuck ordinary Ukrainians with massive rent and utilities increases. With “friends” like that, no one needs enemies! Secondly, it gave him “cover” in appealing to “moderates” (he knew that, whatever he did, the Uniate and schismatic nutters would oppose him). “See, I gave the EU every chance, but the Germans wanted me to raise your rental and utility rates, and I wouldn’t do that! I won’t hurt my people at the behest of Germans”.

Reflect on this… the Uniates have always been a Fifth Column for the Germans in the Ukraine (as one saw in their enthusiastic support for the SS in the VOV). It’s time for the Ukraine to cut Galicia loose… it doesn’t deserve to have such traitors in its midst. Let the Galician Uniates go hat in hand to their Vatican, American, and German paymasters. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. Why do ordinary Uniates put up with their collaborationist clergy? After all, they’re not bad people at base (they’re family members torn away by intolerant papist rulers)… they’re merely misled and brainwashed. It’s a crank world, isn’t it?



Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ruling Party of Regions Wins Ukrainian Election – 99.84% of Votes Counted


On Saturday, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission said that the ruling Party of Regions won 29.99 percent of the party list vote with 99.84 percent of the ballots counted after the election for seats to the Verkhovna Rada. The Batykivshchina (Fatherland) Party led by jailed former Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko came in second with 25.53 percent, and former boxing champion Vitaly Klichko’s Udar (Punch) Party came in third with 13.95 percent. The Communist Party of the Ukraine (KPU) came in fourth with 13.18 percent, and the nationalist Svoboda party gained 10.44 percent. The remaining parties didn’t get past the 5 percent minimum threshold to enter parliament.

The Party of Regions also won the constituency district vote. The election took place on 28 October, with a mixed vote system. Half of the Rada deputies are chosen from party lists on a proportional representation vote, and the other half stand for election in discrete constituencies. The Ukrainian Central Election Commission will announce a final vote tally, with all ballots counted, on Monday at 11.00 local time (13.00 MSK 09.00 UTC 04.00 EST 01.00 PST 17.00 AEST). So far, the Central Election Commission has accepted all the ballots from 188 of 225 regional election commissions. OSCE monitors said the election was not sufficiently transparent and noted an imbalance in the use of administrative resources in the course of the election as well as a disparity in access to media resources among the contending parties. Earlier on Saturday, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, criticised the Ukraine for not having a result declared for the election five days after the vote.

3 November 2012



Editor’s Note:

For those who are interested, the following table shows the proportion of the vote gained by the various major factions in the last three elections (must have won at least 5 percent in one election, bold type indicates a gain in votes over the last election):

  2012 2007 2006 2002
1. Party of Regions


34.4 32.1


2. Fatherland


30.7 22.3


3. Udar


—- —- —-

4. KPU


5.4 3.7


5. Svoboda


0.8 0.4  —-

6. Our Ukraine


14.2 14.0


7. Ukrainian Socialist


2.9 5.7


8. United Social Democrats

—- —- 1.0


The above vote led to the following allocations of seats in the Rada (bold type indicates a gain in seats):

  2012 2007 2006 2002
1. Party of Regions


175 186


2. Fatherland


156 129


3. Udar


—- —-


4. KPU


27 21


5. Svoboda


—- —-


6. Our Ukraine


72 81


7. Ukr Socialist


—- 33


8. United Soc Dem


—- —-


The Our Ukraine (the Yushchenko gang) bloc has imploded. The two minor Socialist parties have fallen off the map, too. Fatherland (Timoshenko’s bunch) appears to have peaked, and is on the downturn. The Party of Regions is holding its own, and the KPU is coming back from a disastrous collapse in 2006. What’s worrisome is the rise of Svoboda and Udar, but there were 72 Yushchenko deputies in 2007 and 77 Svoboda/Udar deputies in 2012. It looks like the Yushchenko voters went for the two extreme right parties, actually diluting their influence. It shows you the level of intelligence amongst the rightwing… namely, not much. In short, not much change.

If one counts the Regions/KPU deputies together, one comes up with the following total of pro-Russian deputies:

  Rada deputies








That is, these two pro-Russian parties have 30 percent more seats than in 2002… that doesn’t bode well for the Galician nationalists, which is why they probably bolted from Yushchenko’s faction and cast their lot with the Far Right Svoboda. This probably means that a Ukrainian rapprochement with Russia is on the way in the middle-future (five to ten years down the road). America’s great attempt to weaken Great Russia by wresting away the Ukraine has probably failed. Sic semper tyrannis



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