“Utter hypocrisy is at work. When similar protests and riots broke out in Britain and France, the positions taken and the tones used by the above actors was very different.”
The takeover of power in Kiev by the mainstream opposition is a coup that has been executed by force, which overlooks the opinions of at least half of the Ukrainian population. Yet, you would not know this from listening to such media outlets and networks as CNN or Fox News or reading the headlines being produced by Reuters and the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The events in Kiev are misleadingly being billed and framed by these media sources and the so-called “Western” governments they support, either directly or indirectly, as the triumph of people power and democracy in Ukraine.
Utter hypocrisy is at work. When similar protests and riots broke out in Britain and France, the positions taken and the tones used by the above actors was very different. These actors framed the protests and riots in Britain and France as issues of law and order, using language very favourable to the British and French governments. Where were the statements of concern about the rights and safety of protesters from the US government and the European Commission when force was used by the British and French governments or when protesters died?
While not overlooking, disregarding, or devaluing the loss of life in Kiev, the roots of the violence there need to be discussed honestly and traced back. On the same note, it has to be understood that members of the Ukrainian opposition and their supporters were agitating for a violent confrontation against the Ukrainian government. There is no argument here against the right of citizens to protest, but rioting or taking up arms with the intent to oust a democratically-elected government is a different matter that no government in the US or the EU would accept on their own territory.
When the laws that the US and EU countries have in place are quickly glimpsed at, gross double-standards are evident. Universally, the criminal codes of these governments forbid the assembly of their citizens for the purpose of discussing the overthrow of the government alone. Their criminal codes consider whoever advocates, aids, advises, or preaches for the overthrowing or the government by political subversion as a criminal and threat to the state. In the US “anyone with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so” is considered a felon under the criminal code. If two or more persons even meet to talk about removing the government in most these countries, they can be imprisoned. In the case of the United States, as the US Criminal Code states, these individuals “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”
Washington and the European Union have aided and encouraged the above acts by openly supporting the campaign of the Ukrainian opposition and even sending officials and politicians to encourage the anti-government forces in Ukraine. The irony is that this is the exact type of behaviour that the US and the European Union have outlawed on their own territories and would not tolerate against themselves whatsoever.
If it were merely a case of ethnocentrisim, this attitude could be called exceptionalism. It, however, is not exceptionalism. To be very candid, it is heartless regime change perpetrated by governments that have a record of insincerely hiding behind democracy and humanitarianism.
How the European Union Enabled the Coup
What has taken place in Kiev is a coup that has unfolded through the manipulation of the emotions and hopes of a significant segment of the Ukrainian population by opposition leaders. It has to be emphasized that many opposition supporters are doing what they believe is right for their country and that they themselves are the victims of their own corrupt leaders. It must equally be emphasized, regardless of which side they support, that the Ukrainian people are all the victims of their corrupt politicians. Both the governing party and opposition parties have taken turns ruling the country and exploiting Ukraine for their personal gains.
The opposition leadership has basically usurped power while the European Union and the United States have given their full support to them. This has been done via EU and US attempts to legitimize the opposition power grab through the portrayal of the coup in Kiev as the climax of a popular revolution in Ukraine.
Albeit the mainstream opposition is not truly united, opposition leaders have grossly refused to fulfill any of their obligations after an agreement was brokered between them and the Ukrainian government by the European Union through mediation by the troika of France, Germany, and Poland. The Ukrainian government and Russia have rightly accused the European Union and the EU mediators of refusing to fulfill their obligations to make sure that the opposition respects the EU-brokered agreement. Instead the European Union has allowed Ukrainian opposition leaders to ignore their commitments and to grossly violate the agreement.
While one faction of the opposition was negotiating another faction of the opposition continued the pressure from the streets, refusing to stop until the government was ousted. The agreement signed between the Ukrainian government and the mainstream opposition on February 21, 2014 had no clause or terms, however, that granted the opposition the rights or power to take over the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Ukraine or to unilaterally create new legislation. Any information that implies that the agreement allows for this to take place is false and misleading.
Instead the agreement has been used as a disguise for the opposition’s takeover of the state. In truth, the European Union helped broker the agreement as a means of empowering the Ukrainian opposition. The leaked phone conversation about the protests in Ukraine between the US Department of State’s Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador in Kiev, even indicated that the US and EU were planning on creating a new government in Ukraine. The Nuland tape reveals that Washington was working to inaugurate a new opposition-led government in Ukraine with Ukrainian figures that would readily submit and acquiesce to US and EU demands.
What Nuland and Pyatt discussed is regime change in Ukraine, which has nothing to do with what the Ukrainian people want and everything to do with what the US government and its allies need from Ukraine. If the US government really believed that the Ukrainian people have the right to determine their future, it would not be busy working to appoint political figures in the Ukrainian government or trying to configure how the Ukrainian government would be constructed. Instead Washington would leave the creation of government in Kiev to the Ukrainian people.
Using Parliamentary Camouflage in the Rada to Disguise a Coup
The leaders of the opposition are trying to cosmetically deceive Ukrainians and the world by hijacking the legislative branch of their country’s government. There are strong chances that this is being done with the coordination and the encouragement of the US government and the European Union. To legitimize their takeover, the Ukrainian opposition is now using the Ukrainian Parliament or Verkhovna Rada. The Rada was already a heavily corrupt place with notoriously crooked and dishonest politicians dominating both the pro-government and opposition sides of the aisle, now it is functioning as a rubber stamp legislature. In other words, the Ukrainian opposition leadership is trying to legitimize its coup in Kiev by using the dysfunctional Ukrainian Rada.
The Rada has not been at full decorum for all the voting. The opposition initially used the instability and fleeing of the government to opportunistically declare its unchallenged Rada bills as legitimate. This happened while approximately half of Ukraine’s parliamentarians were either absent or in hiding due to the violence and riots in Kiev. In other words, opposition leaders used the absence of about half the parliamentarians in the Rada to falsely give a cover of legality to their coup by taking the opportunity to pass parliamentary legislation that would be defeated if all the Rada’s members were present and voting.
Albeit under the management of the opposition the Rada has retained a sufficient amount of parliamentarians or deputies to hold an emergency session, there are serious ethical, procedural, technical, legal, and constitutional questions about what is taking place. To hold an emergency session, the Rada needs at least two hundred and twenty-six of its parliamentarians to be present. Under opposition management there were initially two hundred and thirty-nine deputies, but this did not entitle the opposition to pass any type of legislature that it pleased or to pretend that the Rada was operating under a regular constitutional session. Moreover, there were important and specific procedures that still needed to be followed that the opposition parties outright ignored and violated.
Ukraine’s biggest political party, the Party of Regions, and the other pro-government parties or independent parliamentarians have not been present for all the Rada votes taking place. Albeit an increasing number of pro-government deputies are now beginning to negotiate with the opposition and a faction of the deputies from the Party of Regions have returned to the Rada to protect themselves, the absence of many of the Rada’s deputies and the fact that all Ukrainian parliamentarians are not inside the Rada to challenge the opposition bills makes, at the very least, the legislation that has been passed questionable. Examining other factors, the laws being passed in the Rada become even more questionable.
The Rada’s chairman (speaker or president), Volodymyr Rybak, has not been present for the reading of Rada bills either. It has been reported that Rybak has resigned from his Rada post. Not only must the individual that has been elected as Rada chairperson by a full constitutional session of the Rada be present for the voting process to be legitimate, but the Rada chairperson must also approve the acts adopted by the Rada with their signature before they are sent to the executive branch of government for promulgation. Nor can Ukrainian bills be passed into law or promulgated after the Rada votes without a final presidential signature. The only way that a presidential veto can be overturned is if two-thirds of the Rada’s deputies or members support a bill after the presidential veto, in which case either the president must sign it or the Rada’s chairperson signs the bill into law.
The opposition has tried to circumvent the necessary presidential approval and the absence of a Rada chairperson. Instead opposition leaders got their parties to unilaterally select a new chairman, Oleksandr Turchynov, so that they can push their political agenda forward without getting challenged. Turchynov’s appointment as Rada chairman was meant to give the Ukrainian opposition’s parliamentary work the cover of legitimacy. The opposition appointed Turchynov to claim that constitutional procedures have been followed, because a Rada chairperson has been overseeing their partisan bills and approving them. Moreover, Oleksandr Turchynov is not only overseeing and approving the unilateral bills of the Ukrainian opposition, but has signed them into law as the acting president of Ukraine too.
What the opposition has done with Turchynov, however, is illegal for a number of reasons. Firstly, most of the Rada, meaning all the deputies or members of the Ukrainian Parliament, must convene before a new Rada chairman or speaker is selected to oversee parliamentary voting on bills. This did not taken place, because many of the Rada’s members were missing when he was selected. Secondly, Turchynov cannot assume the role of Rada chairperson if there is already a chairperson with a first vice-chairperson (first deputy chairperson) or assume the role of acting president until President Viktor Yanukovych resigns or is impeached by the Rada, which did not take place when he was declared acting president.
Using divisions inside the bewildered Party of Regions hierarchy, the opposition has sought to cover its unconstitutional tracks. Days after Turchynov was appointed chairman of the Rada, the opposition got a faction of the Party of Regions deputies that returned to the Rada and a series of independent Rada deputies to impeach President Yanukovych. These Party of Regions and independent parliamentarians are working with the opposition in order to keep their places or to secure positions for themselves under the new political regime in Kiev.
The Rada is now a rubber stamp body controlled by the opposition. It has already acted illicitly. Although there is still uncertainty or arguments on whether the 2004 version or 2010 version of the Ukrainian Constitution is in operation, Article 82 of the Ukrainian Constitution (regardless of whichever version is in operation) stipulates that the Rada is only “competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected.”
Discussions have also taken place about new media regulations and expelling the Russian media from Ukraine. Exposing just how fake their democratic leanings are, the opposition leadership has threatened to use the Rada to additionally outlaw any of the political parties in Ukraine that have opposed them. This includes banning Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions
The Party of Regions is not only the most widely supported Ukrainian political party; it also holds nearly forty percent of the seats in the Rada. No other political party even comes close to holding this type of support in the Ukrainian political landscape or the Rada. Excluding the parliamentary seats of its political allies in the unicameral Rada, which houses four hundred and forty-two seats in total, the Party of Regions alone has one hundred and sixty-five seats. The opposition political parties and coalitions comprised of the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland (Batkivshchyna), the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and Svoboda have a combined one hundred and sixty-seven seats. There is no question about which party the majority of Ukrainian voters support. Outlawing the Party of Regions essentially annuls the electoral choice of the most significant plurality of Ukrainians.
Opposition leaders also want to illicitly use the Rada to outlaw the Ukrainian Communist Party. The Ukrainian Communist Party has called the so-called EuroMaidan/Euromaidan protests a foreign-sponsored coup against Ukraine and its people. The opposition threats about banning the Ukrainian Communist Party, and even killing its members in the streets, is meant to punish it for the position it has taken and for the support it has given to the Ukrainian government against the anti-government protests in Kiev.
The Balkanization of Ukraine? Is Ukraine to follow Yugoslavia’s Path?
It seems that maybe the worst is yet to come. Is Ukraine destined to go the way of the former Yugoslavia? The question is being entertained more and more seriously. Andrei Vorobyov, a Russian diplomat in Kiev, even commented, much to the angst of the Ukrainian government, that federalization may be the best solution for Ukraine and that Ukraine was already in a de facto federal state. The reasons behind the angst about the federalization comments are the increasing anxieties of Ukrainian authorities and citizens about the possibility that their country could divide or fragment.
Before the opposition takeover of Kiev in February 2014, Ukraine was already a polarized country and society. The western portion of Ukraine has been under the influence and control of the mainstream opposition whereas the eastern and southern portions have been under the influence and control of the Party of Regions and its political allies. The opposition’s actions outside of the framework of democracy have opened the door for lawlessness and a devolution of governmental power.
Different areas of Ukraine have fallen into the hands of opposition militias. The militia of Aleksandr Muzychko, one of the ultra-nationalist opposition leaders and a fervent opponent of Russia that fought alongside Chechen separatists in Grozny against the Russian military, now control different towns in the western portion of Ukraine. They have threatened to wage war against the Ukrainian government using tanks and heavy weaponry.
Political machinations from all sides are at work too. After the opposition takeover, officials from President Yanukovych’s own Party of Regions laid responsibility for the deaths in Kiev squarely on his shoulder and condemned him as a coward and traitor to Ukraine, virtually ignoring the role that opposition leaders played in igniting the political crisis and the loss of life. Fearing the violent segments of the opposition, the Party of Regions has additionally condemned the mainstream opposition’s intimidation campaign and threats of violence against the Party of Regions and its supporters.
There are Rada deputies or parliamentarians from the Party of Regions that are now in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine and afraid to return to Kiev due to the violent opposition militias that have taken over. There are reports that a parallel parliament may be established somewhere in eastern or southern Ukraine, which would effectively divide the country like Bosnia was divided when the Bosnian Serbs created their own parallel parliament after the Bosnian Parliament in Sarajevo ignored Bosnia’s communitarian formula that essentially guaranteed a veto to Bosnia’s Bosniak, Croat, and Serb communities as a means of maintaining co-existence.
The silent or unheard of half of Ukraine, which the mainstream media in the US and the EU refuse to acknowledge, is now bracing itself and preparing for an expansion of the violence in Kiev. It fears the spread of violence being perpetrated by the militant segment of the opposition. The violence has already begun to touch Kharkiv. There are now calls for secession from the predominately-Russophone Crimean Peninsula, which wants to annul the Soviet era decision of Nikita Khrushchev to detach the Crimean Peninsula from Soviet Russia as an award to Soviet Ukraine that symbolizes unity and kinship between Russia and Ukraine.
If the Crimean Peninsula should separate, there are suggestions that Russia could intervene militarily in the Crimean Peninsula. If this was to happen, it would take place through an invitation by Crimean officials and the Autonomous Rada (Duma or Parliament) of the Crimea, which in June 2006 even created anti-NATO legislation banning North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces from entering Crimean territory while its officials called Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-NATO president of Ukraine, a puppet of the US and the EU. The concern about Russian intervention has even been addressed with an ironically hypocritical and indirect warning from Susan Rice to the Kremlin not to sent troops into Ukraine.
The Autonomous Republic of the Crimea in the Crimean Peninsula, which is the historical home of Ukraine’s Muslim minority, is not the only place in Ukraine that has threatened to take action as a result of the coup in Kiev. As a precautionary reaction to the violent and armed segments of the Ukrainian opposition that have destabilized Kiev, counter-militias are now being formed in places like the oblasts of Kharkiv and Donetsk in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine. Officials and Ukrainians from these eastern and southern parts of Ukraine have also said that they do not recognize the Rada in Kiev as legitimate any longer and that the legislation being passed by it is illegal and void.
Ukraine’s polarized politics also overlap with the contours of organized religion. While the majority of Ukrainians are Christians that belong to the Russian Orthodox Church of Ukraine (simply called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), there is also a division among them that is linked to nationalist politics. About half the followers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church look to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow as their patriarch and as the supreme primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the other half belongs to the breakaway portion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that follows Patriarch Filaret in Kiev. At least in nominal terms, ultra-nationalists and opposition supporters mostly follow the Kiev Patriarchate and those supporting the Party of Regions generally look to Moscow as their spiritual centre. These divisions have the potential of being manipulated in a Yugoslavia-style scenario.
The picture gets more complicated when the minority faiths in Ukraine are examined. Ukrainian Catholics, both the Unites of the Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholics, generally seem to favour the opposition and integration with the EU too. There has actually been growing resentment towards the Ukrainian Catholics, who are viewed as Polish agents, by members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Despite the well-known and advertised dislike of Jews by a segment of opposition supporters (similar negative views about Jews, which have historically existed in Ukraine, also exist among some government supporters), Ukrainian Jews are divided between the pro-government and anti-government camps. According to the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ukrainian Jews have taken part in the anti-government protests alongside Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Ukrainian Muslims, three-fifths of which are Crimean Tartars, on the other hand seem to generally support the pro-government side, albeit there is Muslim support for opposition parties. Ukrainian Muslims, however, are cautious and do not support the dissolution of Ukraine or separatist feelings that exist among the Russian community.
The Blurred Lines that Exist between Ukrainians and Russians
The Eastern European country’s politics are even more complicated by the fact that the Russian language is prevalent in the eastern and southern sections of Ukraine. There is an ongoing dispute about the exact numbers. Due to the closeness of both the Russian and Ukrainian languages, in some parts of Ukraine it is hard to identify if the local population is actually speaking a dialect of the Ukrainian language or the Russian language. Even more confounding, the lines between Ukrainian and Russian identity and language are not clear cut.
Aside from the blurred language lines and the fact that both Ukrainian and Russian were once one language, there is a blurred line on who is ethnically Ukrainian and who is ethnically Russian. Approximately thirty percent of Ukrainians consider Russian as either their first or mother language and are Russophones according to the Ukrainian government, but only about half of these Russophone Ukrainian citizens are actually ethnically Russkiye (ethnic Russian). Sociological work conducted in 2004 asserts that the number of Russophones is actually much higher and that Russian and Ukrainian are actually used almost equally.
There is even a minority of ethnic Russians that speak Ukrainian as their first language and a much larger minority of ethnic Ukrainians that speak Russian as their first language. Many Ukrainian citizens are also bilingual and there is also a preference for using Russian as a daily language and business language in many parts of Ukraine. As part of a historical and sociological process, ethnic Ukrainians have adopted the identity of ethnic Russians and vice-versa, ethnic Russians have adopted identities as ethnic Ukrainians. When asked, many Ukrainian citizens are not even sure if they are Russkiye or ethnic Ukrainian.
If anything is to be remembered about the causes of the First World War and the Second World War, it should be that nationalism and feelings of exceptionalism were used like opiates to captivate and manipulate ordinary citizens into supporting war and the rise of opportunists. The Ukrainian opposition leadership has deliberately promoted and nurtured ultra-nationalist sentiments to blind and manipulate its followers. Ukrainian nationalism, specifically the Western-leaning pro-European Union type, has been formulated on the unhealthy basis of anti-Russian sentiments and a distorted notion of the cultural superiority of the European Union and the cultural inferiority of the Eastern Slavs (particularly Russians, but including Ukrainians and Belarusians).
It is the multiple convergences between Ukrainians and Russians and the complex relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian identities that make the decidedly anti-Russian attitudes of the mainstream opposition, some of which openly glorify Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich and its invasion of the Soviet Union, so dangerous for solidarity in Ukrainian society and Kiev’s future relations with Russia and the other countries bordering Ukraine.
Revolution for Democracy or Riots Promoting Subversion to the European Union?
The crisis in Ukraine did not take place, because the Ukrainian government was corrupt or used force against the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square. It started, because the Ukrainian government refused to sign the European Union’s EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in November 2013. This is why the violence in Kiev has not only unreservedly been given political cover from the political establishment in the United States and the European Union to internationally give it public legitimacy, but has also received media support in the form of biased reporting that favours the opposition.
Social media has been saturated by advertisements and questionable grassroots videos and footage, like the professionally-produced Council for Foreign Relations-linked “I Am a Ukrainian” YouTube video, that paints a distorted narrative of the reasons behind the anti-government riots. Like the other propaganda ignoring the reasons behind the anti-government protests, the “I Am a Ukrainian” video totally ignores the fact that the protests in Kiev did not start on the basis of democratic demands, but started due to the Ukrainian government’s refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union.
Actually, the Ukrainian government and the Party of Regions were initially very supportive of the association agreement with the European Union, but backed out after the EU refused to renegotiate the agreement or to give financial guarantees and economic relief to Kiev for the trade losses and higher gas prices that Ukraine would face as a result of signing the agreement. Moreover, the Ukrainian oligarchs aligned to President Yanukovich and his Party of Regions realized that the agreement would allow corporations from the European Union to dismantle their own corporations and to replace their monopolies with EU corporate monopolies and control. The EU agreement would force Ukraine to change many of its trade laws and regulations that would disadvantage the Ukrainian oligarch’s corporations and, in economic terms, allow for Ukraine to be gutted and essentially reduced to an Eastern European colony.
The Ukrainian government did not sign the EU agreement because it is pro-Russian. Albeit the Party of Regions politically caters to Ukrainians that view Russia favourable, anyone that says or thinks that the leadership in the Party of Regions is pro-Russian or that the Party of Regions is a pro-Russian political party is grossly misinformed or lying. For many years the leadership of the Party of Regions has even openly said that they are not hostile to NATO and Viktor Yanukovych, in the role of prime minister, himself even implemented the NATO integration policies that President Leonid Kuchma was pursuing. The Ukrainian government did not sign the European Union’s EU-Ukraine Association Agreement because of its own interests and not on the basis of favourable sentiments towards Russia.
If the deal only targeted the Ukrainian economy without challenging the monopolies and privileges of the Ukrainian oligarchs, President Yanukovich and the Ukrainian government would have signed it without any hesitation. The EU deal, however, was simply unfeasible and suicidal for both the Ukrainian oligarchs and the economy. The agreement with the EU additionally would force Ukraine to cut its trade ties with its major economic partners, Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), without providing any alternative. It would have politically hurt the Party of Regions in the future too.
The Euro-Atlantic Drive into Eurasia: Using Kiev to Target Russia and Beyond…
The US and EU support for the Ukrainian opposition, even if in part, is aimed at bringing Ukraine into their orbit and to encircle, isolate, and eventual subvert the Russian Federation. Resurgent Orangists and a new coalition of opposition figures have formed a new front, which can be called a neo-Orangist front, which is intensely intent on shifting Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic orbit of Washington and the European Commission through eventual membership in such institutions and supranational structures as NATO and the European Union.
These opposition politicians made a mess of things after the Orange Revolution when they ran Ukraine earlier. It remains to be seen if they can re-orient Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic zone (the word “Euro-Atlantic” camouflages the role that the US plays in Europe; more properly it should be called the Euro-American zone). When mainstream opposition leaders were ruling Ukraine, they were too busy embezzling and fighting one another to further the goals of the US and the EU. Yulia Tymoshenko, when she was in the position of prime minister, and the Orangist President Viktor Yushchenko were even busy accusing one another of corruption and betrayal.
There is a simultaneous campaign to erase Ukraine’s history and its deep and historic ties to Russia from the Soviet and pre-Soviet eras. Not only has the Russian Federation been demonized and the Russian language discriminated against in Ukraine by the mainstream opposition and the ultra-nationalist elements inside its ranks, but Ukrainian citizens with ethnic Russian background or favourable views towards Russia and Eurasian integration have also been portrayed as traitors, foreigners, or the enemies of Ukraine. Any reminders of a common history with Russia have been attacked, including monuments to the fallen soldiers that defended Ukraine and the Soviet Union from the Germans during the Second World War or, as it is called in Ukraine and Russia, the Great Patriot War.
Concerning Syria and Iran, it has been repeatedly stated many times that the road to Tehran goes through Damascus and that the US and its allies have targeted Syria as a means of going after Iran. In regards to Ukraine and Russia, a very similar axiom is also applicable. The road to Moscow goes through Kiev. The takeover of Ukraine is part and parcel of a geo-strategic campaign against the Russians, as is the regime change campaign against Damascus to a lesser degree.
Regime change in Ukraine is part of a covert and overt war against the Russian Federation. The installment of a puppet government in Ukraine will remove one of the most important partners that Moscow has. If Ukraine joins the EU and NATO, it will be a direct threat to the western borders of Russia and the security of one of the most important Russian naval bases, which is the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and located at Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula.
If they escalate, the events in Ukraine will disrupt the security and diplomatic ties between all the regional countries in Eastern Europe. Poland is already being watched with distrust from Belarus and Russia. The Polish government, in its interaction with Ukraine, has acted just like the Turkish government has acted towards Syria. With the backing of the governments of the US, Britain, Germany, and France, Warsaw has supported Ukrainian anti-government forces in multiple ways, just as Ankara has supported anti-government forces and regime change operations inside Syria in multiple ways.
Russia is not alone. The Russian Federation is not the only country concerned about what has happened in Ukraine. The estrangement of Ukraine from Russia additionally aims to isolate Russia from Europe and to reduce the Eurasian Union being formed by Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus into a predominately Asiatic project instead of a dually European and Asian project. Both the Belarusian and Kazakhstani government are worried too. Countries like Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, and China are watching the events in Kiev with concern as well. Ukraine has been a partner to these countries and they all view the conflict in Syria and the anti-government riots in Ukraine and Venezuela as part of a multi-front global war that the US has waged against them and their allies.
The views of the Iranians are not much different from that of the Russians. Iran has voiced its concerns that what has been set in motion in Kiev will result in the eventual disintegration of Ukraine with far-reaching consequences that will destabilize the flanking Caucasus region, which shares the Black Sea with Ukraine, and will eventually reach Iran. The head of the Iranian military has even commented on the coup as a “move from independence to dependence.”
Just to give an idea on the importance of the value that this group of countries put on Ukraine, it should be noted that the Chinese signed a December 5, 2013 bilateral agreement announcing that Ukraine was Beijing’s strategic partner. Included in the agreement was a Chinese pledge to provide Kiev with the military protection of a Chinese nuclear umbrella. The governments of Ukraine, China, and Russia had also discussed admitting Ukraine into the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO).
There is no question that the Ukrainian government is corrupt, but the opposition is no better and equally as corrupt. It cannot be denied, however, that when it comes to the question of popular backing by the Ukrainian people, the Party of Regions and its political allies have greater support from Ukrainians than the opposition parties that have taken over the country through the use of force and intimidation. Nor does the pandering of fearful Party of Regions officials towards the empowered opposition justify or hide the coup that has taken place in Kiev; these officials are now trying to either save their own skins or salvage the situation.
Even if it is denied that the opposition originally planned a coup, only when democratic means are exhausted can such a use of force be legitimate. The mainstream opposition leadership in Ukraine galvanized all their supporters and mobilized them into pouring into Kiev and pushed for a violent escalation, while the pro-government half of the country remained mostly immobilized. As mentioned and alluded to earlier, the show of numbers in the streets of Kiev by the opposition also has an equally large or possibly even larger number of Ukrainians opposing it. What about their opinions about the future of Ukraine?
This commentary first appeared on Global Research.