Thursday, July 3, 2014

Medvedchuk and the prospect of oligarchic appeasement with fascism in Ukraine

There is now no way of hiding it or not seeing it. At the moment of war and great danger, Putin and the Russian leadership keeps its own people and also the heroic people in the Donbass and their supporters disoriented. Putin and the Russian government also chose to seek refuge in mainly technocratic, bureaucratic language (the language of Gazprom discounts for the fascist junta), which is deliberately mute even on moral support in relation to all those who have risen against the junta and fascism. 

There have been various indications that the strange inclusion of Victor Medvedchuk in the two rounds of the ceasefire talks between Kiev and the people's republics is part of a deal struck behind the scenes between Poroshenko and Putin for pacification of the Donbass. 

 (whose name means "Little Bear") was most notably the head of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's Administration in 2002-2005. Leonid Kuchma was representing the Kiev regime during the talks, and Medvedchuk was sitting right next to him on the site opposite of the representatives of the people's republics. Shortly after, billionaire oligarch Kolomeysky went on record advising Poroshenko to appoint Medvedchuk as the governor of the Donbass in order to bring the restive region under control.

On 24 June 2014 the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic informed the OSCE that Medvedchuk was appointed their representative in the negotiations with the Ukrainian Government. On 28 June 2014, Medvedchuk himself then wrote on his FB page:"Hope that a compromise will be found has appeared and we'll manage to find a way of the present situation, retaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine and restoring peace."

On June 30, Igor Kolomoysky, Mr. Odessa, then went on record saying that "he is confident that the appointment of Viktor Medvedchuk as governor of the Donbass is the last chance to avoid a full-scale war in Donbass." Kolomeysky futher said: "I'm not just for Medvedchuk's appointment as governor of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. I am aggressively for this. If the leaders of separatists do not agree with his nomination, this means that they ignored [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ... Medvedchuk's appointment [is] the last chance to establish peace in the Donbass."

Otherwise, Medvedchuk himself is a Ukrainian oligarch (though living mainly in Russia) who is considered to be also one of Putin's confidantes. 

Medvedchuk also evidently enjoys trust and endorsement from Kolomoysky himself, who is credited with "pacifying" Dniepropetrovsk,  Odessa (by means of the May 2 massacre) and Mariupol (the  May 9 massacre), "giving the local fascists [more] gyms" where to exercise and financing the National Guard, especially its special Azov battalion. 

Igor Strelkov himself said that almost any choice for the head of the Donetsk People's Republic would be better than Medvedchuk.

Medvedchuk's own political base and the support for his (would-be pro-Russian) Ukrainian Choice in Ukraine is close to nil. In the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, Medvedchuk was considered the main behind-the-scenes man of Viktor Yanukovich deposed by Maidan on February 22-23, 2014. During the 2004 election campaign, Medvedchuk also had rapport with the fascists. He reportedly paid a "huge amount of money" to the Ukrainian National Assembly leader Eduward Kovalenko to hold a march supporting Yuschenko. The march included Nazi-like flags and symbols, and Kovalenko used a Nazi salute in his support speech. 

All this points to the following: what we see is a strange hybrid of war and appeasement. It is a war of the US, the EU, NATO, and the Ukrainian state against people in east and southern Ukraine on the way to Moscow itself. But it is also appeasement. Oligarchic appeasement.

Both Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs are trying to put down the antifascist and anti-oligarchic insurgency. And Russia is an oligarchy, which is evidently more afraid of the spontaneously arisen national-liberation, anti-oligarchic and emancipation struggle than of anything else, including the further unfolding of the plan aimed at the destruction of Russia in part by means of some 40 million Ukrainians recruited and mobilized for this purpose by the fascist dictatorship and NATO.

The tragic irony of the present moment is that the Russian leadership is proving unable to step over its own distinctive class character and interest. Oligarchs have a very poor record in fighting with fascism. They either tend to lose to fascism or to merge with it. For oligarchs do tend to believe that there are worst things for them than fascism. 

And Putin is and remains an executive secretary of an oligarchy at least as much as a head of the state.

As things are going, there will be be soon no one left to liberate or protect in eastern Ukraine from fascism and the Drang nach Osten.

The Kiev junta knows and has made it known that its so-called ATO (anti-terrorist operation) against Russians and resisting antifascists is merely a first part or training for the next stage--reconquest of Crimea. Russia has in Crimea some 20-30,000 troops. Ukraine has now already possibly 60,000 mobilized combat troops (split between the army and the ministry of interior) and this is increasing. Kiev knows that, in east Ukraine, they are also fighting for Crimea and much more. 

On July 3, Poroshenko appointed Valeriy Geletey as new Minster of Defense. Upon his appointment, the new Ukrainian defenseminister declared that the fascist regime will celebrate its Victory Parade in Sevastopol, Crimea. On behalf of the Kiev regime, he thus confirmed that the Ukrainian government sees its military actions as part of a much larger war and that what it calls "the zone of the anti-terrorist operation" extends not only over the insurgent Donbass in east Ukraine, but also over Crimea. 

Wall Street Journal's specialfeature on Igor Kolomeysky (Ukrainian fascism's "secret weapon" AND Ukrainian fascism "can certainly use a billionaire's backing") including these notable points:

1. Wall Street Journal: “Certainly the country [and its now ruling fascism] could use a billionaire's backing —and this particular one has no shortage of ideas.”
2. Kolomoysky’s right hand “to oversee military operations, Gennady Korban, a man who describes himself as “a conflict manager in hostile corporate takeovers”: antifascists are "maniacs without families …. [who] just have to be killed."
3. Kolomoysky and other oligarchs in Ukraine “may have more financial than altruistic [sic] reasons” for supporting resurging fascism in Ukraine 
4. Kolomysky: “the rise of oligarchs like himself in Ukraine as a natural stage in the transition of some countries to democracy, similar to the robber barons of the U.S. at the beginning of the 1900s.” 
5. Kolomoysky: discussions about him becoming governor started in January (one month before the coup succeeded), but he declined to say whom they were with
6. Kolomoysky’s deputy governor, Boris Filatov: We met even with “Communists,” to whom we “promised to pay respects to some historic monuments.” We also met with “local fascists" who just “wanted to do more sports so we gave them gyms."
7. Today the Dnepr Battalion financed by Kolomyesky has 2,000 battle-ready troops, equipped with heavy weapons, and more than 20,000 in reserve
8. The Dnepr Batallion saw its first major action in Mariupol on May 9 when they attacked the local police station and “burned [it] to the ground with its occupants.” 
9. Kolomoysky, the patron of Ukrainian fascism, brought in Romanian and Georgian military advisers to help the Dnepr Battallion. Romania is a member of NATO
10. Georgia's former president, Mikheil Saakashvili and his Georgian team have also been helping Kolomeysky “Dniepropetrovsk government” 

Kolomeysky not only backs now Putin's or Poroshenko's (?) Medvedchuk as a joint pacifier, but he is also the same crafty oligarch of whom Putin himself said in his interview back in March the following

"For example, Mr Kolomoisky was appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. This is a unique crook. He even managed to cheat our oligarch Roman Abramovich two or three years ago.  Scammed him, as our intellectuals like to say. They signed some deal, Abramovich transferred several billion dollars, while this guy never delivered and pocketed the money. When I asked him [Abramovich]: “Why did you do it?” he said: “I never thought this was possible.” I do not know, by the way, if he ever got his money back and if the deal was closed.  But this really did happen a couple of years ago. And now this crook is appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. No wonder the people are dissatisfied. They were dissatisfied and will remain so if those who refer to themselves as the legitimate authorities continue in the same fashion."

So these men are now working out an oligarchic deal on how to make fascism safe for Ukraine, Russia, and the world.

In response to the above, Dennis Etler wrote on my FB page:

“The partisans in East Ukraine can't go it alone and they have an unreliable class ally in the grand bourgeoisie of Russia. A class analysis of the Soviet Union and its successor state the Russian Federation can put things in some perspective. A somewhat simplistic analysis can see the Soviet Union's state structure as an alliance of the proletariat, the peasantry, the progressive petite bourgeoisie (the Soviet intelligentsia) and the managerial and administrative apparat (the patriotic national bourgeoisie). With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the expropriation of the public wealth by the upper stratum of the apparat, the Soviet national bourgeoisie was liquidated and a new class of grand bourgeoisie (the oligarchs) emerged. The managerial and political class of operatives who administer the oligarchic empires and the intelligentsia who support them constitute the new Russian middle class which is divided been traditionalist Russian nationalists and modernist neo-liberals. The neo-liberal wing of the middle class longs to be part of the West and is willing to betray Russia's national interests to do so. They are a US fifth column. The reactionary wing is a more direct ally of the oligarchs and keeps the restive working class and pauperized rural population in check. Given these class factors the idea that Donbass could achieve a real people's democracy at this juncture is a pipe-dream. If anything the situation is more akin to 1905 than 1917. So don't expect much more to happen. The sell-out, compromise is in place. The actors will regroup and assess their next moves. This is just the opening gambit of a protracted game between Russia and the West. It all must also be seen in the context of regional contests for hegemony in the Middle East, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia, Africa and Latin America where China is playing an increasingly decisive role. We're at the stage where the board is being set. We are approaching the Middle Game which will begin in the next few years. The End Game may not occur until mid-century, but perhaps sooner depending on a number of imponderables.

These are all excellent points. I would only take exception to this one: "The End Game may not occur until mid-century, but perhaps sooner depending on a number of imponderables." I would actually expect huge, stupendous acceleration of events--the world system crisis is upon us, the system is broke and morally bankrupt.

Moreover, after the loss of Donbass, not only Putin's authority and leadership would be fatally undermined, but the Russian elite and establishment would be in crisis. The prepared destabilization of Russia would kick in on multiple fronts, including from the side of fully armed and fully anti-Russian Ukraine. The fact is that people's democracy was the saving way for Russia to finish and win its own national liberation after muddling through towards regaining its sovereignty after the (self)defeat in the Cold War.

There was and is an objective demand for anti-oligarchic alignment. Instead, oligarchy has reasserted itself. When revolutions fail, reaction begins and becomes the new "normal." But the combination of fascism, imperialism, capitalism in crisis, and war make for a very bad and rather very violent mix.

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