Skip

Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine
February 19, 2014 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine (NYRB) An analysis of the Ukrainian revolt by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History at Yale and a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He is the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.

What does it mean to come to the Maidan? The square is located close to some of the major buildings of government, and is now a traditional site of protest. Interestingly, the word maidan exists in Ukrainian but not in Russian, but even people speaking Russian use it because of its special implications. In origin it is just the Arabic word for “square,” a public place. But a maidan now means in Ukrainian what the Greek word agora means in English: not just a marketplace where people happen to meet, but a place where they deliberately meet, precisely in order to deliberate, to speak, and to create a political society. During the protests the word maidan has come to mean the act of public politics itself, so that for example people who use their cars to organize public actions and protect other protestors are called the automaidan.

Ukraine Revolt: reddit sticky post
Live stream of Independence Square
posted by Golden Eternity (93 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
As soon as I saw Carl Schmitt referenced, I waited for Lyndon LaRouche to show up...and there he was!
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:37 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Fascinating:
Why exactly do [Russians] with such [fascist] views think they can call other people fascists? And why does anyone on the Western left take them seriously? One line of reasoning seems to run like this: the Russians won World War II, and therefore can be trusted to spot Nazis. Much is wrong with this. World War II on the eastern front was fought chiefly in what was then Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Belarus, not in Soviet Russia. Five percent of Russia was occupied by the Germans; all of Ukraine was occupied by the Germans. Apart from the Jews, whose suffering was by far the worst, the main victims of Nazi policies were not Russians but Ukrainians and Belarusians. There was no Russian army fighting in World War II, but rather a Soviet Red Army. Its soldiers were disproportionately Ukrainian, since it took so many losses in Ukraine and recruited from the local population. The army group that liberated Auschwitz was called the First Ukrainian Front.
posted by stbalbach at 9:15 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]






That's how you occupy when it's for real.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:53 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


When the riot police came and beat the students in late November,

For a second I thought I might be reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
posted by dhartung at 12:20 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Well fucking hell, I just saw a sniper go prone, pick his shot then move on. At least 6 snipers on buildings picking shots, someone just went down from a high calibre bullet wound.
posted by jaduncan at 12:45 AM on February 20


Sniped body just got taken off in a pickup. They aren't messing around given there's several major diplomats in town.
posted by jaduncan at 12:47 AM on February 20


http://www.ustream.tv/channel/spilno-tv-live

Feed. Occasional high calibre firing still.
posted by jaduncan at 12:59 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Positively heartwarming to see that the LaRouche lizard people have gotten involved and are cheering on the forces of tyranny in the name of liberty, as is their wont.
posted by acb at 1:03 AM on February 20


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DxkDiAcSF8

Sniping in the street. It just looks a little like a civil war now, complete with snipers waiting for the rescue team for the second kill.
posted by jaduncan at 3:06 AM on February 20


the Russians won World War II, and therefore can be trusted to spot Nazis.

The Russians were famously inept at spotting Nazis. Stalin actually trusted Hitler and reacted to Nazi Germany's invasion of Russia with disbelief and denial:

The basic facts of the first fateful weeks are widely known: despite 87 warnings (by one count) from sources that included spies (including Richard Sorge in Japan), heads of state (Churchill and Roosevelt), and even a report from a German non-commissioned officer deserter one day before the invasion was launched, Soviet leader Josef Stalin was caught flat-footed.
posted by three blind mice at 5:38 AM on February 20




I do remember reading some open letter from a bunch of academics (?) downplaying the right-wing element of these protests, but now I can't find it... help me out, lazyweb?
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:04 AM on February 20


> The army group that liberated Auschwitz was called the First Ukrainian Front.

I like Snyder, he's a great historian who has taught me a tremendous amount about the history of Eastern Europe, but this is bullshit: it was called the First Ukrainian Front because, duh, it was fighting on the Ukrainian front—north of that was the Belorussian Front, and north of that the Baltic Front. The name has nothing to do with where the soldiers were recruited. And in general this reads like a hasty, sloppy, Maidan-centric essay; historians are not necessarily the best on-the-spot reporters. Here's a better piece that stands back from the Maidan and explains the true forces at work.
posted by languagehat at 6:18 AM on February 20 [15 favorites]


During the protests the word maidan has come to mean the act of public politics itself, so that for example people who use their cars to organize public actions and protect other protestors are called the automaidan.

Somewhere in the square, there must be a protester formed band called Iron Maidan....there must be!

Jokes aside, it's been frustrating watch it all unfold from the sidelines and across an ocean. Every month you hear about Russia sending a few more billion to the establishment in charge, and despite Russian claims the US is all up in this, there's been no visible or admitted acts other than VP Biden talking on the phone and now, threats of sanctions. Putin stands as a 21st Century Russian Caesar, whose idea of a strong Russia is one bound together in chains of corruption, fear and intimidation. Blegh.
posted by Atreides at 6:19 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Bouncing off of languagehat's comment...

Apart from the Jews, whose suffering was by far the worst, the main victims of Nazi policies were not Russians but Ukrainians and Belarusians. There was no Russian army fighting in World War II, but rather a Soviet Red Army. Its soldiers were disproportionately Ukrainian, since it took so many losses in Ukraine and recruited from the local population.

Not that the Ukrainians didn't suffer tremendously in WW2 (and beyond), but downplaying Russian casualties gets a big fat [citation needed] from me. Check out the estimates on Wikipedia - and if you think Wikipedia's range of estimates are off, then by all means correct them. According to the handy-dandy chart on that page, taken as a percentage of the 1940 population, Russia had a 12.7% loss, as opposed to Ukraine's 16.7% loss. Tracking only the military dead, Russia took a 6.13% loss, and Ukraine took a 3.99% loss. On the other hand, Ukraine took a massive amount of civilian losses.

Disproportionate, sure, but not to the extent or in the manner that this piece would make it out to be, especially in comparison to Belarus' 25.3% total loss.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:31 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Here's a better piece that stands back from the Maidan and explains the true forces at work.

I'm surprised you think that was a good analysis:
First, there is no evidence that the majority of protesters over the past two months have been motivated primarily by radical nationalism or chauvinism.
...
The protest leadership (to the extent that it exists) consists of three opposition parties in parliament – one of which, the Svoboda party, is clearly on the far right. Svoboda, which captured 38 seats and 10 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, until 2004 called itself the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine and employed neo-Nazi and SS symbols. While the party changed its name and symbols in 2004, Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, continued to argue that the opposition should fight the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia running Ukraine” and praised the Ukrainian Insurgency Army (UPA) in World War II for fighting “against the Moskali [Muscovites], Germans, Zhydy [Jews] and other scum, who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”
...
The explicit harkening back to the songs, slogans, and symbols of the nationalist movement of the 1930s and 1940s — with its aspiration to achieve an ethnically pure Ukrainian nation-state free of Russians, Jews, and Poles — has been one of the most significant differences between these protests and the Orange Revolution of 2004.
...
And Svoboda is just one of many signs of a strong far right presence in the organization and mobilization of the Maidan. Andriy Parubiy, the “commandant” of the Maidan and the leader of the “self-defense” forces that guard the protest camp in the center of Kiev, was a co-founder of the Social Nationalist Party with Oleh Tyahnybok.
...
Despite the strong right-wing presence, are the protests nonetheless pro-democracy? The answer to this might seem obviously yes...

So, the protest is made up of straight-up Nazis and people who are comfortable working with Nazis... yet it is still democratic!

The Maidan occupation pretty clearly represents a rallying of (far) nright politics in the Ukraine, which fits in with what seems like the general mood in that corner of Europe, see Hungary. Besides, everything else in their "analysis" seems to be the blatantly silly sorts of games western political "scientists" play with polls.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:37 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


So, the protest is made up of straight-up Nazis and people who are comfortable working with Nazis... yet it is still democratic!

Conflating "elements of the protest" with "the protest is made up of" is an egregious misrepresentation of the article. That piece is warning against characterizing the protest purely as a pro-democratic, liberal populist movement. It does not say that liberal, pro-democratic protestors are absent, or even that they may make up the majority of protestors.

It is a reminder, though, that violence often radicalizes political movements, and there's a danger opposition will coalesce around the ultra-nationalists, in essence putting Ukrainian nationalists against Russian nationalists.
posted by touchstone033 at 7:10 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


As the Snyder pieces says, Russia would like to portray it as a far-right uprising to the west, and to its own side, portray it as a led by evil Jews.

However the truth is neither, they are not largely motivated by ideological issues, like most everywhere they want more freedom and human rights from a fairly oppressive regime who has not done a good job representing them.

Trying to pigeonhole this as a neo-WWII neo-Nazi sort of thing just plays into the Russian propagandists. As Snyder explains. However I am sure any discussion of the situation there will quickly turn into a discussion about Nazis. The Russian propagandists have committed one of the biggest cases of Godwin's Law ever seen.
posted by stbalbach at 7:32 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


So, the protest is made up of straight-up Nazis and people who are comfortable working with Nazis... yet it is still democratic!

Putin is so fucking evil and his oligarchic vision is so toxic that neo-nazis are the lesser of the two evils in this situation.
posted by Talez at 8:14 AM on February 20


I think, if I read you correctly, Talez, that you are endorsing a neo-Nazi revolution in place of either the Russian or Ukranian state, on the basis that Putin's methods of governance are more evil than those likely to be employed by those embracing an ideology that explicitly endorses genocide.

Did I get that right? Because I have a hard time thinking that's what you meant to say. I do think it is what you said, though.
posted by mwhybark at 8:39 AM on February 20


Here's a quick rundown from the Beeb for anyone else, like me, who's been following the protests but has little to no idea of what's actually going on. It's pretty enlightening if you're capable of reading between the lines (I'm assuming "radical right" in this instance means Neo-Nazis or the Ukranian equivalent?)
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:51 AM on February 20


They're not just Nazis, they're Killer-Terrorists!

I know because Russian television told me so:
"Killer-terrorist, on one of Kyiv's blazing occupied streets, trying to put a dying soldier to sleep with chloroform."
posted by Kabanos at 8:52 AM on February 20


I think, if I read you correctly, Talez, that you are endorsing a neo-Nazi revolution in place of either the Russian or Ukranian state, on the basis that Putin's methods of governance are more evil than those likely to be employed by those embracing an ideology that explicitly endorses genocide.

If we're playing a pissing contest, Putin embraces an ideology that explicitly endorses genocide. Did we forget Chechnya all of a sudden? Not to mention his other slower motion genocide which goes on through the mass poverty of his citizens.
posted by Talez at 8:58 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


> I'm surprised you think that was a good analysis

I'm surprised you can't seem to do a better job of reading. (Or perhaps you're simply being disingenuous, in which case my surprise is lessened.) At any rate, here's what came after your deceitful snip:
Yet recent work on mass mobilization has suggested that we need to be careful about assuming that politicians’ and analysts’ master narratives about “democratic revolutions” reflect the actual motivations of those on the street. Princeton University Professor Mark Beissinger has shown that Ukrainian protesters in late 2004 had a “weak commitment to democratic ends” – despite the fact that the protests were sparked by electoral fraud. More recently, a December survey of the current protesters in Ukraine cited above shows that less than 20 percent were driven to protest by “violations of democracy or the threat of dictatorship.” More broadly, it is important not to assume that opposition to a non-democratic regime is the same as support for democracy. History is littered with examples of opposition movements that governed in an authoritarian manner after they took power – from the opponents of the Shah in Iran in 1978/1979 to the anti-Soviet nationalist movement in Armenia, which harassed opposition, and engaged in serious electoral fraud after taking power in 1990-1991; to the dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who started off as an opposition parliamentarian in Belarus in the early 1990s.

Moreover, the protests themselves are not particularly representative of the views of a broader Ukrainian polity. The claims that “the movement as a whole merely reflects the entire Ukrainian population, young and old,” find very little support. In this, as in virtually every area of political opinion, Ukrainians are pretty clearly divided. Surveys taken in the past two months in the country as a whole range both in quality and in results, but none show a significant majority of the population supporting the protest movement and several show a majority opposed. Recent surveys provide suggestive findings that quite large majorities oppose the takeover of regional governments by the opposition. The most reliable and most recent survey shows the population almost perfectly divided in its support for the protest: 48 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed.
Protip for future attempts at reading: the phrase "might seem" is a strong signal there's a "but" coming up. And yes, I think that was a good analysis.
posted by languagehat at 9:01 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


It's bothersome to see how the dichotomies of communism/capitalism and naziism/fascism get conflated with totalitarianism, which is the thing I think most reasonable and decent people actually oppose most of all. I grew up believing the cold war was about taking a stand against a government (USSR primarily) because it killed its dissenting citizens outside the rule of law and filled the gulag by spying deeply and relentlessly on its people.

As we watch the American empire jump the shark, it's not surprising to see our own political system, supposedly so different and superior, leaning toward totalitarianism. I deeply resent the price my society has paid in money, in eroded civil liberties, and in polluted nuclear sites for that conflation so aggressively and deftly encouraged by many of our recent leaders and ideologues. That process obscured and nurtured the real goal of the cold war, which was the supremacy of the US empire at all costs and as an end unto itself.

I'm not saying the USA right now is on par with Putin's Russia or whatever totalitarian disaster might emerge should the Ukrainian protest movement prevail, and hopefully it never will be, but the widespread angry reaction against Snowden is what makes his case so significant. The tendency to totalitarianism is present here, and we ignore it at our peril because the conditions ahead of us are fertile ground.

Reading this post prompted me to revisit this recent discussion of fascism as a snarl word, and I think some readers here might find it interesting.

On preview, genocide isn't an exclusive hallmark of either left or right wing extremist politics, but it does seem to have a peculiar attraction to totalitarian regimes across the board.
posted by maniabug at 9:10 AM on February 20


I'm happy to see we're setting the stage for the Russians top move in to safeguard democracy and civil order. With tanks.
posted by happyroach at 9:40 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Languagehat, sorry if this is dumb question but your quote says:
Surveys taken in the past two months in the country as a whole range both in quality and in results, but none show a significant majority of the population supporting the protest movement and several show a majority opposed. Recent surveys provide suggestive findings that quite large majorities oppose the takeover of regional governments by the opposition. The most reliable and most recent survey shows the population almost perfectly divided in its support for the protest: 48 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed.
Wouldn't this "division" be expected, isn't that the whole point of the conflict? The question is how those who live in the west of the country feel about it.
posted by stbalbach at 9:51 AM on February 20


I decided not to post the personal part of my comment, but consider that if extremists and neo-Nazis are more prominent on the square, it's in part due to the militarisation of the conflict by Yanukovich and the violence, deaths and mass texts to demonstrators that make it harder for average Joes to protest physically. Women are barred from the square and only today there were 39-70 dead and the police has been issued military weapons. Roughly one out of two supports the protests, so even if every neo-Nazi supported them, they would still be outnumbered 3 or 4:1 by other Ukrainians.

There is a good discussion to be had about the visibility and legitimisation of extremist groups during public unrest, but calling every protester a neo-Nazi while overlooking that the government sparked the crisis, upped the stakes (recently followed by the demonstrators) and has been outright killing citizens seems bizarre.
posted by ersatz at 10:49 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


From BBC:
Roland Oliphant, Daily Telegraph Moscow Correspondent
tweets: Lots of rumours about ministers, parliamentary speaker, Yanukovych family members flying out of Ukraine. Unconfirmed.

20:31:
More from parliament - 239 out of 450 Ukrainian MPs are present in the hall, most of them representing opposition parties. The MPs sang the national anthem after passing the resolution, BBC Monitoring observes.

20:28:
MPs assembled in the Ukrainian parliament have voted to condemn the recent violence, ban the use of weapons against protesters, withdraw troops and the police deployed against them - via our colleagues at BBC Monitoring, who are following the parliamentary proceedings relayed live on Ukraine's ICTV.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:40 PM on February 20


Some of the LRB's regular contributors are posting good short pieces on Ukraine to their blog:
The supposedly greedy have turned out to have, at least some of them, other ideals; and though the protesters on the Maidan and their supporters are no doubt frightened, they have stood their ground. To the cynic whose ideal is that people have no ideals, altruism and a willingness to make sacrifices can only appear as a kind of mental illness. To the cynic, there are only two kinds of people – cynics (that is, normal people) and ‘extremists’, sometimes ‘terrorists’.

This isn’t about the economy, duraki. If it were, the protests, which are bringing the already weak Ukrainian economy to its knees, would not have begun. Nor is it about the palely elephantine modalities of frowning Eurosuits in Brussels or Berlin or Stockholm. Europe is a metonym for a conceptual escape from what passes for governance in Ukraine – crooks, backhanders and family ties, like a Sicilian village in the 1940s – to something fairer, more just, more honest. It may be a fantasy, a paradisal vision. But there are times when visions take charge.
James Meek: Romantics and Realists: Ukraine's Tipping Point
All this is just what Putin wants. A national stand-off in Ukraine which redraws the lines between ‘Holy Russia’ and ‘Fascist-Homosexual West’. Putin’s press secretary has already called the violence an ‘attempted coup’. Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Russian Communists, has called on the south and east to form resistance groups. It could be that it’s not so much Ukraine joining the Eurasian Union that counts, it’s the journey towards it, keeping the Putin story moving onwards (it doesn’t really matter where to, it just has to keep on moving).
Peter Pomerantsev: Among the Conspiracy Theorists
posted by RogerB at 3:26 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Open Letter to Yanukovych from Chairman of the Association of Ukrainian Banks
After a review of the Association of Ukrainian Banks by the State Tax Administration in 2013, where no theft was found, your corruption guards quoted your exact words to me: “That miserable Syhonyak considers us to be thieves, but we’ll show him that everybody is a thief.” God has shown you for three months that there are people who not only do not steal, but who give for the common good of the Ukrainian people, which today consists of a release from your parasitic government. They give food, medicines, money, health and even their lives. You cannot understand this because you are a victim of the criminal environment where you grew up, lived and worked. Ukraine is home to not only thieves, among whom you have lived, but benefactors, whom you probably never had the occasion to meet.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:57 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Languagehat, sorry if this is dumb question but your quote says:

Surveys taken in the past two months in the country as a whole range both in quality and in results, but none show a significant majority of the population supporting the protest movement and several show a majority opposed. Recent surveys provide suggestive findings that quite large majorities oppose the takeover of regional governments by the opposition. The most reliable and most recent survey shows the population almost perfectly divided in its support for the protest: 48 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed.

Wouldn't this "division" be expected, isn't that the whole point of the conflict? The question is how those who live in the west of the country feel about it.


There's a distinction to be understood between supporting the protests that are happening right now, in all their particularities, and being frustrated with or against Yanukovych's heavy-handed authoritarianism. Protests aren't pure expressions of what everybody feels about the conditions of their governance, after all.
posted by clockzero at 4:44 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Somewhere in the square, there must be a protester formed band called Iron Maidan....there must be!

Their big hit is "Number of the beastovitch!"
posted by Renoroc at 5:46 PM on February 20






Reddit comment:
I just spoke to a member of the Internal Forces (i.e. police) who is very scared by the whole situation. He said that his job duties are normally more along the lines of keeping rowdy football fans in check on gamedays and that he is neither trained nor equipped for situations such as this. Currently he doesn't even have a shield as that has been taken away by protesters.
Overall, he describes the support and supply situation as problematic. At the moment, police are just instructed to hold their ground while Berkut brings in new supplies to share. Meanwhile, men with machine guns have apparently arrived though he does not know for what purpose / what their orders are.
He described the Berkut as normally being nice guys and was shocked about the news that police shot people today. The info he is getting from his commanders is that protesters are armed and dangerous with police desperately trying to passively keep the peace. That's why we see police taking cover behind objects so often, they are being told that protesters keep machine guns in their tents etc.
Furthermore, he is very concerned about "fire grenades", i.e. Molotov cocktails. I think that is very understandable. There are videos out there of police and Berkut getting hit by these and your face being on fire is very scary indeed unless there is a fire brigade just next to you. And even with extinguishers in immediate proximity, we often saw Berkut throwing their helmets away and running around in panic when hit with these things.
He did not know of the recent developments in parliament and has not been ordered back to base. It seems that as far as his commanders are concerned, parliament's decisions haven't changed anything.
Access to information isn't necessarily completely prevented but the information they are directly given certainly paints a very specific picture. He does however know people in the protests and is in occasional contact with them. He understands that the protests are in principle for "good causes" but is very uneasy about the confrontations.
I don't know about every protester on the ground, but I think people on reddit would overall be well advised to be a little more understanding of the police. It is sometimes mentioned separately that (a) most of the front line police are in fact not specialized riot police, (b) their supply situation is less than stellar, (c) they aren't necessarily all that big in numbers, and (d) they get very filtered information, but I think the consequences of these effects in combination are not always fully appreciated here.
Imagine yourself standing face to face with thousands of angry protesters wielding Molotov cocktails, throwing stones, and banging on trashcans just a hundred or so meters away from you. While you stand shield-to-shield just double or perhaps even just single line. You are outnumbered, you are "out-aggressioned" from a perception standpoint, and you may even be out-equipped as you generally wouldn't carry a firearm (at least not so far). The noise, the fireworks, the smoke, the occasional Molotov cocktail, and you just have to stand there for hours not doing anything more than raising and lowering your shield. Very scary indeed.
Then you go back to base bonding with your coworkers over that shared intense experience and naturally a "us against them" perception will develop.
I am of course not condoning any of the violence of the last few days, not even close. But we should not forget that on both sides, violence is only perpetrated by a few. In fact, I have often wondered (not in the last few days of course) how police kept so calm most of the time. And furthermore, there seems to be quite an information asymmetry. Last, what is even the alternative? Go over and join the protesters? Would you dare to do that unless being absolutely certain that you will not immediately be lynched by the mob? About which you could of course never be absolutely certain. No one on the internal forces sees the videos we do about police being treated decently! They only ever see them get dragged away "into the lion's den".
Depending on what side you are on, protesters standing blackened in the fires with their home-made shields, ski helmets and creative body armor wielding all sorts of improvised "weapons" may either look "cool", and defiant or scary, out of control and medieval.
Why am I saying all of this? It's just a friendly reminder that in the current situation, Ukrainians are pitted against Ukrainians by higher powers. The real monsters are not the ones who face each other on the streets every day. Sure, there may be some, but let's not demonize all police just as we wouldn't demonize all protesters if some misbehaved. The real issue lies of course with the command structure and the very unfortunate situation everyone just happens to find themselves in. So let's dial down the hatred a little that we see in some of the posts here.
Solutions come from understanding and understanding comes from listening and contemplation.
That is all, just thought I'd share. Peace to everyone.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:40 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]




Maidan: before and after photo.
posted by Kabanos at 8:21 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Yulia Tymoshenko has been released and Vitali Zakharchenko is fired!

Today is the dawn of a new Ukraine! One that has firmly rejected Putin.
posted by Talez at 8:59 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Unexpected news! Hopefully a good sign? Then again, I don't know anything about anything, so pretty much anything would have been unexpected to me.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:04 AM on February 21




Looks like the past 24 hrs have seen a lot of Lenin statues topple in Ukraine. I just watched the one in Dnipropetrovsk go down.
posted by Kabanos at 3:02 PM on February 21




Europe’s Crisis in Ukraine
(Carl Bildt - Sweden’s foreign minister since 2006, and Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, during Sweden’s EU accession)
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:25 PM on February 21


There's a distinction to be understood between supporting the protests that are happening right now, in all their particularities, and being frustrated with or against Yanukovych's heavy-handed authoritarianism. Protests aren't pure expressions of what everybody feels about the conditions of their governance, after all.

Well apparently the country is on the verge of splitting in half, according to today's news. Seems to me the "protestors" (ie. half the country) are fairly well united. Of course since they are about about 50% of the country, you could say the Ukranians are not well united and you would be right.
posted by stbalbach at 6:46 AM on February 22


Golden Eternity: "Meanwhile, men with machine guns have apparently arrived though he does not know for what purpose / what their orders are."

Well in case anyone wonders what their orders are (warning, protestors getting shot down by "peace keeping" police force)
posted by Big_B at 6:48 AM on February 22


> Well apparently the country is on the verge of splitting in half, according to today's news.

I looked at a few of the news sites this morning and they are all over the place. One of them had a map of Ukraine with the Ukrainian majority area one color and the Russian majority area a different color and the geography was split almost right down the middle. It was one spooky looking map I will tell you that. The Guardian had this:

Late on Friday night the US state department confirmed various reports that Yanukovych had left Kiev, but said it believed he had travelled to the city of Kharkiv in the east of the country "to shore up support there" rather than fleeing Ukraine as had been rumoured in some reports and on social media.
posted by bukvich at 7:10 AM on February 22


Parliament just voted to impeach Yanukovych. Elections to be held in May.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:19 AM on February 22


I'm just waiting for friendly Russian troops to roll into Eastern Ukraine at the request of the president to help provide security and assistance in the midst of the crisis (after the conclusion of the closing events in Sochi). It's interesting in the geopolitical sense that the repercussions of 20th Century imperialism are still having such powerful implications in the 21st Century.
posted by Atreides at 8:49 AM on February 22


I'm just waiting for friendly Russian troops to roll into Eastern Ukraine at the request of the president to help provide security and assistance in the midst of the crisis

President who? Putin?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:21 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


> It's interesting in the geopolitical sense that the repercussions of 20th Century imperialism are still having such powerful implications in the 21st Century.

It's actually the repercussions of 17th-century imperialism. Anyone seriously interested in the background should run out and read Paul Robert Magocsi's amazing A History of Ukraine, which takes all ethnic groups, religions, etc. equally seriously and has lots of good maps.
posted by languagehat at 9:25 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


Kyiv Post updates
Feb. 22, 12:42 p.m. -- The Voice of America Moscow is reporting that the Russian Duma Foreign Affairs Committee head Aleskei Pushkov is in Kharkiv. -- Christopher J. Miller
There is speculation that Tymoshenko may be headed to Euromaidan
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:27 AM on February 22


Wow, a lot has happened in a day! Tymoshenko released, parliament firing Yanukovych... Now he's in self imposed exile in the eastern half of the country?

Did the protesters win?
posted by Kevin Street at 11:09 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Livestream of Independence Square -- Tymoshenko is set to speak to the crowd shortly. (update: she's there now)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:31 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Do Ukrainian speeches go on for hours like the Russians?
posted by bukvich at 11:39 AM on February 22


Also weather underground reports it's a balmy 40 degrees fahrenheit with no wind in Kiev so this shouldn't be like William Henry Harrison's inauguration.
posted by bukvich at 11:49 AM on February 22


It's hard to imagine what this must be like for Tymoshenko. Yesterday she was under guard in a hospital, serving a rather questionable prison sentence. Today she's in the square addressing thousands of young people who wouldn't stop fighting until they got rid of the man standing between them and freedom. Most people don't get a second chance in life, but this must be at least chance number three for her.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:56 AM on February 22


Democracy Now! - New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests U.S. Was Plotting Coup
Stephen Cohen: And the longer-term outcome may be—and I want to emphasize this, because nobody in the United States seems to want to pay attention to it—the outcome may be the construction, the emergence of a new Cold War divide between West and East, not this time, as it was for our generation, in faraway Berlin, but right on the borders of Russia, right through the heart of Slavic civilization. And if that happens, if that’s the new Cold War divide, it’s permanent instability and permanent potential for real war for decades to come. That’s what’s at stake.
If that's the case I'm guessing we can kiss an Iran nuclear agreement goodbye.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:52 PM on February 22




Huh, apparently Stephen Cohen believes that the only person who understands whats going on in the Ukraine and in Russia is Stephen Cohen. Reading the article, with regard to the leaked tape, I think this headline is pretty much just as valid, "Leaked Tape Suggests U.S. Was Plotting to Ask Opposition Leader Not to Join Yanukovych's government."

Geez, reading his piece for the Nation, he doesn't come across as someone pointing out different perspectives, so much as a Putin-Russia advocate on the grounds that one can't fault Russia for responding to its loss of influence (shucks, the people subjugated for decades want to turn away from you?) in the former Soviet sphere. I imagine him writing fan fiction scripts including him and Keri Russell.
posted by Atreides at 4:36 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Abandoning Ukraine
posted by homunculus at 5:04 PM on February 22








Democracy Now! today: A Coup or a Revolution? Ukraine Seeks Arrest of Ousted President Following Deadly Street Protests (Features commentary from Snyder, author of the OP's article)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:54 AM on February 24


I hadn't checked in on internet/news for most of the weekend and then this am was shocked that even the local news was talking about the Ukraine, only to hear of what sounds like a good development. I don't remember anyone last week seeing this an an outcome so I'm pretty surprised.
posted by Big_B at 8:40 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]




Ukraine averted greater bloodbath, Moskal alleges
The plans called for the deployment of 22,000 police officers, including 2,000 Berkut riot police, and 224 Security Services of Ukraine anti-terrorist Alpha Group officers, including seven snipers.
...
He also said that, according to the documents, Russia played a role in the planned mass murders.

Moskal said that the former first deputy head of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces’ Main Intelligence Directorate played a major role in planning the operations. Moskal said the Russian’s advice was needed because former acting Security Services head Oleksandr Yakymenko and Zakharchenko were not qualified to conduct such an operation. Yakymenko was a pilot and Zakharchenko was an economic crimes unit officer.
...
According to Moskal, Zakharchenko gave the orders to shoot. On Feb. 20, Zakharchenko said publicly that police were authorized to use firearms to defend themselves.

Also guilty of giving orders, Moskal said, are” ex-Deputy Interior Minister Viktor Ratushniak, former department head of public safety Oleksiy Krykun, ex-commander of the Interior Ministry’s troops Stanislav Shulyak; chief of the main Interior Ministry department in Kyiv Valeriy Mazan; ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine Oleksandr Yakymenko and his first deputy Volodymyr Totsky;  Security Services of Ukraine head for Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast Oleksandr Shchoholiev; and SBU Alpha Group commanders.
...
Many of the operations’ plans coincide with the actual events that took place during the police raid of Feb. 18-19.  
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:37 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


The Big Picture: Ukraine Up Close
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:51 PM on February 24




YanukovychLeaks. Starting to publish the documents found in Mezhihirya (Yanukovich's former residence).
posted by Kabanos at 10:27 AM on February 25


YanukovychLeaks. Starting to publish the documents found in Mezhihirya (Yanukovich's former residence).

And fished out of a lake where they had been dumped in hopes of destroying them. Hard core. Hopefully someone who can read Cyrillic will start translating their contents for the masses.
posted by Atreides at 12:07 PM on February 25






Curiouser and curiouser…

Russian Flag Raised after Gov't Sites Seized in Ukraine's Crimea, Reuters, NBC News, 27 February 2014

New Ukraine ministers proposed, Russian troops on alert, Alessandra Prentics and Richard Balmforth, Reuters, 27 February 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 2:33 AM on February 27




Russia Deploys Fighter Jets On Ukraine Border, Reportedly Takes In Ousted President
Oleksandr Turchynov, who stepped in as acting president after Yanukovych's flight, condemned the takeover of government buildings in Crimea as a "crime against the government of Ukraine." He warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea "will be considered a military aggression."

"Unidentified people with automatic weapons, explosives and grenades have taken over the governmental buildings and the Parliament building in the autonomous region of Crimea," he said. "I have given orders to the military to use all methods necessary to protect the citizens, punish the criminals, and to free the buildings."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:00 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Dmitry Yarosh, received a louder ovation on Independence Square on Saturday than did Yulia Tymoshenko. Moscow noticed.

I think that had much more to do with a huge lack of enthusiasm for Tymoshenko than an endorsement of Yarosh.
posted by Kabanos at 10:04 AM on February 27




Hopefully someone who can read Cyrillic will start translating their contents for the masses.

NYT has a description of some of the content.
Looks like the Yanukovichleaks interface has improved a bit too.
posted by Kabanos at 2:27 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]






Fact-Checking The Ukrainian Revolution
FEB. 27, 2014 By ANDREA CHALUPA
In 2008, while covering the Republican Convention, I bumped into Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!, and I was star struck. When Russia Today announced that Julian Assange would get his own show, I thought that was brilliant and couldn’t wait to watch it.  One of my more interesting email newsletter subscriptions comes from CounterPunch, a political website in Portland, Oregon—that lovable hipster Narnia. But now that my mainstays in alternative media are covering the revolution in Ukraine—a part of the world I have lived in and researched extensively for years—it’s left me heartbroken, and wondering: If Russia Today, DemocracyNow!, and Counter Punch are spreading misinformation about Ukraine, what else have they been wrong about? By sharing their articles in the past, have I helped them blur the truth?

Ukraine has a history of being the victim of media conspiracy. In 1933, the Western mainstream media deliberately covered-up Stalin’s genocide famine in Ukraine that starved to death many millions. Stalin, a great statistician himself, cited 10 million dead. Eugene Lyons, a reporter for UPI in Moscow, confessed to the cover-up in his tell-all memoir Assignment in Utopia. It was reviewed by Orwell and helped inspire ideas for 1984, namely the slogan: 2+2=5.
...
Today the alternative media is the Kremlin’s little helper.
Bernard-Henri Levy: Ukraine’s Revolutionaries Are Not Fascists

All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress: Antisemitism Not on the Rise
Thus, I categorically refute the statements appearing in a number of foreign media outlets of facts of massive anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Ukraine that do not correspond to reality!

The whipping up of the situation around this issue is of a provocative nature and does not contribute to a calm life for the Jewish community of Ukraine.
MetaFilter: that lovable hipster Narnia
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:15 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]




Crowds Demand Crimea Split from UkraineNBC Nightly News, 27 February 2014
Armored vehicles, believed to be Russian, filled the streets in the most Russian part of Ukraine: Crimea. Although Russia has a legitimate military presence there, many Ukrainians fear Russia is taking over.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:37 PM on February 27


"NATO commander plays down tension with Russia over Ukraine", Adrian Croft, Reuters, 27 February 2014
Breedlove said neither the United States nor the 28-nation Western alliance had drawn up contingency plans for how to respond if Russian forces did move militarily in Crimea.

"Right now we are not planning contingencies on how to respond here. What we are doing is supporting the peaceful resolution of this business," Breedlove said.

NATO had also not moved military equipment due to tensions over Ukraine, he said. "No, no, we have taken no actions to this moment. We are doing what everyone else is doing which is monitoring. We are trying to get to a full understanding of exactly what has transpired," Breedlove said.


Armed standoff in pro-Russian region raises Ukraine tension, Alessandra Prentice and Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters, 28 February 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:11 PM on February 27


Gas Subtexts of Crimea Crisis.

Yanukovich in 2011:
"[The Crimean pipeline option] is a lot cheaper than [the] proposed one, the cost of which is now estimated to about $25 billion. And the route that we offer now will cost 5 times cheaper."
posted by Kabanos at 12:00 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]




I honestly expected that to be an Onion piece.
posted by Kabanos at 2:52 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


New thread.
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:10 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]




« Older Facebook Acquiring WhatsApp for $19 Billion   |   Tim Burton's Batman, the... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post