Taking Sides

I’m posting this Facebook conversation here because I think it outlines my reasons for favouring the Separatists and the Russians pretty well and things get lost on Facebook.

A while (August 26th) ago I wrote on Facebook that:

I would like to call people’s attention to ‘The Sacker’s blog’ at http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/ It is the best resource I’ve seen for getting updates on the Ukraine crisis.
While I have no personal connection to Novorossia (a defiant name for the eastern provinces) the justice of their cause is obvious as is the injustice of the genocidal war against them. In a very real sense the Novorossia militias are fighting for all of us who are against the rise of fascism in Europe and the amoral and anti-rational politics of the US and EU. I urge everyone to keep an eye on this and engage in discussion about it as changing the consensus and the complacency is the only way we can support these people.

Daniel responded:

I’ll admit to being not the most informed on this situation, but it seems like a stretch to say that the Ukrainian government is fascist because some of the protesters/militias involved in the euro maidan stuff were. Seem to me to be just the nature of mass movements, much like how you could encounter anti-Semite NWO freaks at Occupy.

I posted the following videos and links with comments saying:

This short documentary could be said to be partisan but is a good introduction that shows that the problem goes beyond a few freaks

The Telegraph on the other hand is as mainstream as it gets and this article highlights the presence of fascist groups such as Azov fighting with the Ukraine army.


Even the BBC acknowledges that the neo Nazi groups are a significant problem for, and through Svaboda in, the government.

Looking deeper, Per Anders Rudling provides an interesting historical perspective on the rise of fascism and the divisions in Ukraine. I think he must be right in saying that the majority of Euromaidan protesters were not fascist and were protesting against extensive corruption but the fascists were a large minority and the best organised faction. At the end Rudling associates Putin with Yanukovich in ‘holding Ukraine back’; I think this is naive or disingenuous but he makes no argument for this.

Daniel responded:

I watched the first two videos, will watch the 3rd in a bit. I don’t doubt that fascist militias have power in Ukraine but to frame the conflict and Russia’s involvement in at as anti-fascist seems wrong. Russia has their own self-interested agenda here as much the EU. The Crimean region seems to be in favour of secession and I support their right to self-determination, but I really don’t get your support for Russia and by extension Yanukovych’s government, which was clearly corrupt.

I replied:

I don’t know that Russia can be blamed for Yanukovych’s corrupt government. I understand that Ukraine was in Russia’s sphere of influence but it had a similarly corrupt government before Yanukovych and that was pro-West. Russia has every reason to be wary of the West’s intentions in Ukraine given the expansion of NATO eastwards; theirs is a rational self-interest that seems to be based on ‘partnership’ is not in necessary conflict with the self-interest of others while that of the US/EU is based on maintaining the privileged position of the US and is in necessary conflict as is apparent in the Middle East. People may or may not like Putin’s style or some of his conservative views but he has been remarkably consistent in calling for a multi-polar world order and has been extremely effective in moving towards this through partnerships with China, BRICS and now the Latin American nations. As to framing the conflict as anti-fascist – if you are fighting fascists you are by definition anti-fascist and everything I have learned from the non-mainstream media convinces me that Novarossia or Donbass is the ‘right side’. The people who support them seem to be diverse in background and morally motivated as in the case of the volunteer of Afghan origin in this video:

And this militia member:

Daniel argued:

I’m not suggesting Yanukovych was directly controlled by Russia, but he has their support. He is likely exiled in Russia despite being wanted for war crimes. Also, Russia has always justified their involvement by calling the Ukrainian uprising ‘a coup’. Despite the involvement of the far-right, this is dishonest. It was a legitimate popular uprising. Putin might be effective, but do you agree with the methods behind that efficacy? The protests started because Yanukovych backed down after Putin engaged in economic warfare against Ukraine to keep the country under Russian influence. That doesn’t seem very democratic or justifiable. I don’t see him as any better than the West. As for anti-fascism, I disagree. This is not clear cut ethically like people joining the international brigades to fight Franco in Spain…the fascists are by your own admission not in the majority. This is a civil war with strings being pulled by the West and Russia. It doesn’t make sense to me to pick a side.

I said:

Serious analysts like William Engdahl and Stephen Cohen have shown that the ‘uprising’ was a coup and one engineered by the EU and US, with the US being less willing to compromise and agree on a Ukraine that would work with both the West and Russia. This is evident from the Victoria Nuland’s ‘F… the EU’ recording. It has also been reported that Maidan protesters were paid by the US and EU.

Yanukovych is in exile in Russia but he is not guilty of the crime he is accused of, that is, using snipers to fire on protesters. Engdahl argues (and intercepted phone conversations between EU diplomats support this) that the snipers were working for the US who were intent on scuppering a deal being worked out between EU representatives, Yanukovych and opposition parties.

According to Cohen, Putin made Yanukovych a counter offer and was prepared to work with the EU to rebuild Ukraine. It was the EU who forced Yanukovych to choose sides. I do see Putin as better than the West’s politicians; in demeanour, speech and action he is much more a conciliator and an incredibly competent manager which is entirely contrary to the aggressive, ‘thuggish’ picture painted of him in the MSM. Russia under Putin appears to be a very different entity to the Russia of the Soviet period or under Yelsin. Putin is by no means perfect and I don’t see him as the messiah but just as a really good headteacher can turn around a failing school he has been changing Russia and its role in the world for the better.

Also worth watching this interview with Stephen Cohen who gives a very coherent account of the crisis describing how it was orchestrated by the US and EU.

Daniel noted:

A quick look at wikipedia shows William Engdahl is a climate change denier and a guy who believes that oil is a ‘geological phenomenon’ that isn’t at risk of being depleted. I’m not sure that he is any more of a serious analyst than Alex Jones or David Icke. I see no reason to take his unsubstantiated claims that the Orange Revolution was instigated by the US as fact. These people seem incapable of understanding that while the masses are controlled, we are also capable of free thought and action and that real grassroots movements can exist. It reminds me of an article on infowars (one source of the claim the maidan protesters were paid) about London student protests in 2011 being infiltrated by anarchists who were actually agent provocateurs sent by the state. I had a good laugh at that since me and people I know personally organised that action. I’ve seen no evidence to support the claim of protesters being paid beyond a syndicated article on infowars and other conspiracy sites that quotes ‘a number of confirmations from readers’. I’ll finish watching these videos but these sources (Engdahl at least) are not particularly credible in my eyes.

I replied:

I’m sure that genuine grassroots movements were involved in the protests. But what good did their protests do? Why would they want to be associated with the fascist violence that accompanied the protests? Yanukovych and his government were bad but is the new government any better? I’ve found no substantial evidence of Maidan protesters being paid but there is no doubt that the US has been buying influence – sorry ‘supporting civil society’ – in Ukraine for two decades. Watch this short video of Victoria Nuland speaking at this ‘US – Ukraine Foundation’ conference. Did the US spend the admitted $5 billion over those two decades because they wanted to improve things for the Ukrainian people? Call me ‘symbol minded’ if you will but I was amused by the prominence of the US flag and the Chevron logo while the Ukraine flag hung limply in the corner.

Still, I ought to consider the view from the other side .. Not looked at much of this but I will: https://www.facebook.com/euromaidanpr

Daniel concluded:

I’m certain that US aid comes with conditions that are tailored towards achieving the US’s geopolitical ambitions in the region. That is a different thing entirely from saying that they funded subversion, whatever that means in practice. This is a breakdown of US aid to Ukraine, most of which would be verifiable elsewhere (IMF etc.) – http://www.whitehouse.gov/…/fact-sheet-us-assistance… – America’s successful purchase of influence is no different ethically from Russia’s failed one.