Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Unrest in the Ukraine - Заворушення в Україні!

Vladimir Putin, gay bashing dictator extraordinaire of Russia, has far too much influence on the entire ex-Soviet region of Eastern Europe. Enter in Ukraine, who has said, "enough is enough. We want to make ourselves better." Many Ukrainians have been excited at the prospects of being entered into the European Union and finally becoming partners with the rest of Europe. The idea of democratically elected leaders and an improvement of their economic prospects has brightened the minds of many Ukrainians. Now a former bloc nation could be the poster child of what happens when you shun Kremlin influence in favor of a better future.

Well, that was until the president of Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovich, bowing to Kremlin pressures, and deflected his country's attempts at integrating into the European Union, and instead opted to appease Russia. This has angered thousands and thousands of Ukrainians, who took to the streets of Kiev this week to make their voices heard. Estimated numbers of this past weekends protests have ranged for 600,000 people upwards towards a million angry Ukrainians. The opposition movement in the Ukrainian government, led by politicians with ties to Moscow, tried, but failed miserably, to crash the government yesterday in hopes of dashing any hope of Ukraine advancing its movement towards European inclusion. But so far, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

To understand where this is urge at a release from Russia's grips is coming from, it's important to start at the fall of communism in 1989. The Soviet Union had no economic system in place to help cushion the blow of its collapse, and the former soviet bloc has yet to recover. The trouble is that Russia is set on never allowing any nation who wants to improve itself economically to do so, as it refuses to give up its power in the entire region. And this affects not only Ukraine, but other former soviet nations like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Moldova, etc. These are nations are run by corrupt, Stalin-like, despotic leaders and it's only a matter of time until the people, sickened by their governments, follow Ukraine's lead.

What's happening in Ukraine is too important to ignore. President Yanukovich and Vladimir Putin are enemies of democracy. They're holding their nations back from advancing into the future and I can only hope that the rest of Eastern Europe follows suit. Putin may think he's powerful, but he's useless against the voices of millions.


  1. Joining the EU at this moment would mean opening the Ukraine to a flood of western European manufactured goods along with German and French bank capital. The former would cripple much of the Ukrainian manufacturing sector, which for better or worse is tightly integrated with the Russian economy; while the latter would lead to the cherry picking of physical assets by westerners, a property bubble and easy credit to citizens which will eventually result in the implementation of neo-liberal austerity policies by EU debt collectors - see Greece, Spain, Ireland and the other victims of the criminally insane EU monetary policy - and not as much national autonomy as EU supporters expect.

    The country is fairly evenly divided on the question of joining the EU or remaining linked to the Russian economic sphere and Yanukovich, who you unfairly equate with Putin as an "enemy of democracy", is walking a tightrope on this. The reality is that a slower integration with Europe rather than the standard shock doctrine approach would be less destabilizing.

    And then there is the issue of NATO expansion, in which the Ukraine would provide a really terrific location for nuclear missiles and troops as part of the West's long term encirclement strategy toward Russia. I don't care who the leader of Russia is, they would find this unacceptable.

    It's disturbing how quickly the US media jumps on the bandwagon of every supposed new revolution while either ignoring or advocating for the overthrow of elected governments in Honduras, Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil and Nicaragua or cheering on the slaughter in Libya and Syria. In the end it all comes down to money and our own oligarchs don't give a toss about gay rights or democracy when it gets in the way of their scramble for cheap labor and the control of natural resources.

    Living under, and tolerating, the greater "US Torture and Surveillance Dome" doesn't lend itself to criticizing the suppression of human rights in other countries. Oh, we can go ahead and do it alright, puffing up our chests in self righteous, finger-wagging indignation, but the rest of the world already knows we are full of shit.

  2. Gareth, the Onion this week summed it all up in one pithy headline, "U.S. Continues Dependence on Foreign Toil."

    It doesn't really matter whether the workers in offshore client states are badly underpaid by their own, domestic, authoritarian, locally-controlled corporate-state fascist power structure (as in, say, China, where factories have nets ringing worker dormitories/barracks to prevent suicides) -- or -- whether the workers are horribly underpaid and terribly overworked because international banksters have absorbed and co-opted local, domestic ownership. (For example, in places like Bangladesh or Guatemala, or any number of other neo-colonial banana republics.)

    It's still "buy low, sell high" for the banksters. They won't pay much for natural resources or goods produced by 'foreign toil' or no deal will ever get done. It's just gravy on top if they can also stick the wogs with as much debt as possible, within the larger framework of a "modernization" or "globalization" or "standardization" scheme. That's the tightrope that people like Yanukovich are walking.

    There's a more nuanced look at some of the same issues from UWM's own Jeffrey Sommers here:

    The poster formerly known as MoJoWorkin who has become disenchanted with Open ID and all the extra needed to get listed that way in these cognitions....

  3. Interesting Gallup poll in the Ukraine, showing rather low support for EU leadership and even lower for their own government, but still higher than Americans regard our own congress. Political leadership is failing all across the world, primarily I think, because "leaders" act as sock puppets for the elite and nearly everyone is beginning to realize this. What to do?

  4. For the record, Latvia is already in the EU and has seen it's unemployment rise from 5% to 22% in the process, due to austerity measures imposed by the EU -- German and French banks.