Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yanukovich is in the Kremlin, and Putin is gone

Ukraine today is in the midst of killing Russians, pro-Russians, and anyone suspected of supporting them, thus trying to restore Ukraine's "rightful" and "traditional" place in the bosom of its European "Fatherland," which traditionally loved Ukraine that much:

Ukraine under the junta is marching back to Europe, which means that it is marching with fascist columns on the east, and Europe is marching forward to, trying to put some democratic makeup on the faces of the fascist shock troopers, while the Russian government is trying to utter the best passable compliments to its Ukrainian and Western "partners" with gentle reminders of their joint responsibilities. At the same time, the Kremlin and Putin's fans are now turning what have been mere hints into ever louder rebukes to the antifascist resistance in east Ukraine to the effect that they are at best misguided fools.

Borys Filatov, a right-hand of Kolomeysky, explains the "miracle" of fascist peace in Dnienpropetrovsk. The method is the one, for which Yanukovich would have been hanged in the Hague. Maidan occupied and seized government property and buildings, shot the police and set them on fire. Then the US praised them for their "incredible non-violence." Now, Filatov explains what the new Maidan authorities do once in power:

Dnipropetrovsk is a firewall of pro-government sentiment in a restive region ...“I called them in and told them there is a red line,” said Borys Filatov, the deputy governor who made a fortune as a corporate lawyer. “I said, you can wave your flags and shout anything you want. But if you try to take over the building, there won’t be any of this ‘Please leave,’ like in Donetsk. We will shoot without warning. We will kill you.” He paused and seemed to ponder how his take-no-prisoners message sounds to an outsider. “I am sorry if I sound brutal,” he said." The West and its journalists were deeply in awe.

The plan for nazification of east Ukraine is euphemistically dubbed brutal "neutralization." Otherwise, to use the plan's own other expression (p. 2), it could also be called "Fascism's new phase: back to normal" by means of massive state terror, which includes:

1.      crackdown to be undertaken "irrespective of public opinion"
2.      "gain" to be obtained: "decimation of activists and pro-Russian voters"
3.      "gain" to be obtained: wholesale destruction and shutdown of the economy of Donbas, thus "relieving" the fascist regime of too many antifascist people
4.      destruction of Donbass (genocide) will help save Kiev money by reducing gas 
5.      consumption and imports
6.      use of "non-conventional weapons" (read: prohibited by Geneva Conventions and chemical weapons, etc.) is recommended
7.      adults ought to be "relocated to [concentration] camps"
8.      executions of people on the spot is recommended whether armed or not and irrespective of status, age, or gender
9.      even children under 13 are to be moved away to concentration "facilities"
10.  all wounded survivors should be persecuted for terrorism
11.  large scale expropriations of private properties envisaged
12.  areas of such state terror and massive deliberate repression shall be off the limits to any outside media
13.  massive and systematic disregard of Geneva Conventions and laws of war
14.  Everything on the ground and the whole course of the junta's so-called ATO or "anti-terrorist operation" conforms to this plan and fits it to a t.
This plan makes both the junta and RAND criminal organizations and war criminals.
In its execution, the plan looks like this (the list is by no means complete):
Since the armed coup in December we have seen Dimitry Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, seizing Russian assets and properties in Ukraine, killing and kidnapping Russian journalists and citizens, hundreds of verbal attacks by "officials" on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and top Russian leaders, death threats against officials of all levels, sanctions applied against Russian officials and even journalists by the Kiev, ethnic Russians killed and bombed on a daily basis, attacks on an embassy with the participation of the foreign minister, military incursions into Russian territory, the bombing of Russian border checkpoints, the stealing of Russian resources including 4.5 billion dollars in gas, false flag operations staged to blame Russia, continuous wild claims against Russia by top officials and the list goes on.

This was supposed to be originally a picture showing the humanitarian side of the fascist junta from Slavyansk after the retreat of Strelkov's militia. It did not take long for people to see and notice things even in the junta's own disinfo production: 

As Strelkov and others also noted, when the junta begins its assault, it systematically targets first civilian infrastructure, water supplies, energy plants, electricity and gas networks, and factories. After factories, the junta's heavy artillery proceeds with destruction of hospitals and schools and then bombs apartment buildings and whole streets. The shelling includes white phosphorous, chemical weapons, cluster bombs, and large caliber missiles. Fascism even in Ukraine works still according to a plan. The militiamen are often targeted only after these priorities are addressed. 

Under the conditions of outside appeasement, fascism has overcome a serious psychological barrier--the fear and resistance to kill "not simply living people, but their own people, i.e. civilians and Russians. The Ukrainian Army has no longer this problem. 

The New York Times helps us understand what, besides Moscow's inaction, started making difference in Ukraine. Fascism and shock troopers learned how to shoot into their own people: 

Mykola Sungurovskyi, the director of military programs at the Razumkov Center, a policy research organization here in the capital of Ukraine, [explained that] ... there has also been aid from abroad ... but even more important ... was a crucial psychological shift: Soldiers surmounted a reluctance to open fire on their own countrymen ... 'They have overcome that psychological barrier in which the military were afraid to shoot living people,' Mr. Sungurovskyi said. “They had this barrier after Maidan, after the death of that hundred — not simply to shoot living people, but their own people.

 Andriy Parubiy, the leader of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, chimed in:
We, of course, studied the experience of both Croatia and Israel ... [but if] this experience is successful, this experience can very easily be used ... even in Belarus and Kazakhstan. If we do not stop Putin here, nobody knows where his Girkins will appear next.
From Slavyansk, meanwhile, like from Kransnyi Liman or Schastie, stories are coming out about executions of males of the military age and even mothers of militiamen. In accordance with the dirty war or rather fascist war plan prepared for the junta by U.S. strategic and military think tank RAND.

While this is happening, let's bring back what Putin said on March 2, which, for the Russians and millions of people in the world, was a loud and clear message:
In case if the violence in Ukraine and Crimea spreads, the Russian Federation reserves the right to protect its interests and the interests of the Russian-speaking citizens. ... Moscow reserves the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in Ukraine, the Kremlin said. Putin also drew attention to the provocative, criminal actions by ultra-nationalists, in essence encouraged by the current authorities in Kiev. The Russian President underlined that there are real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens and compatriots on Ukrainian territory.

On July 7, Sergey Lavrov defined Russia's position, which has become clear--though very opposite to Putin's Marc 2 position, as follows in an interview with Bulgaria's Focus News Agency: “The principles of a state's sovereignty and the non-interference into internal affairs [in Ukraine] have priority significance." 

In other words the borders of Ukraine is more important than any humanitarian issue which might occur. This is a license to kill for the Ukrainian government. A blank check for the junta and NATO to implement the RAND nazification plan to the fullest. And, much less than chess by Putin, what we have now looks more like a dance between death, fascism, various oligarchs and Moscow. 

And so, as many antifascist militiamen and their supporters see it, Putin broke his word as and obligation. As, one can see in this interview with an antifascist militiamen from Lugansk. An Anna-News reporter is asking him what happened today. The man briefly answers, but then he says that he needs to talk rather about something else. He "wants to say a word to the leadership of Russia. I am Russian living in Ukraine. And when Crimea was joining Russia, we were all full of joy, and then, at the massive manifestations, they were saying that 'Russians do not abandon their own." And we believe it ... but when the say that Russians do not abandon their own, we no longer believe it. ... We cannot fight with a Kalashnikov against tanks and artillery pounding us from 15 km away. ... If you say that Russians don't abandon their own, you must prove it. ... We deeply bow to all the volunteers from Russia. And when it comes to Putin and to the leadership of Russia, we no longer believe them. You were saying that you are not abandoning Russians. But that's exactly what you have done." 

Another antifascist militiaman in Lugansk reveals that he is from Turkmenistan. He says that he went to Lugansk to fight for the underling: "It is always necessary to defend the weak. If people are coming here to help Russians even from a country like mine, from Turkmenistan, why cannot then much stronger Russia come with help?"

Meanwhile, the junta and its shock troops are fully enjoying their blank check issued by the US, the EU and NATO and certified by Moscow. Understandably, this has mightily raised their spirit, morale, and enthusiasm to shoot objecting soldiers, civilians, POWs, wounded, or anyone else on their way. The junta's troops are thus also attracting all the sadistic psychopaths and cold blooded looters. A sense of impunity has become the new opiate that unifies not only the oligarchs with the fascists, but both of them with sociopaths from the rest of society as well. 

One of the key questions of the events brutally unfolding in Ukraine that needs to be seriously asked and explored is this: What are the likely consequences of fascism (in the form of resurgent Banderism) and the cardinal fact that this aggressive and anti-Russian fascism has captured and seized the state machines and its tools of war and violence in a 44-million nation? 

Of course, it would have been nicer and easier if political evil did not exist and the world was a benign place in which courage would not be needed or where such political evil would go away or collapse on its own, by itself without anyone having to speak up against it or trying to do something about it ... for, strangely enough, this new falsely "post-historical" world also happens to a world where a new sort of "anti-fascism" has emerged--one that argues that the wisest and most moderate anti-fascism is one which resists new fascism little or as least as possible. 

If fascism is not resisted, will it go away--almost as quickly and easily as our will and courage to fight it? 

Moscow has never wanted to conquer Ukraine or dismember it. This is not because the Kremlin has been loyal to the interests of a neighboring state, but simply because the Russian leadership has lacked any strategic plan whatever. Today’s Russian elites are fundamentally incapable of thinking strategically. ... The annexation of Crimea to Russia was unquestionably an improvisation, and not so much on the part of Moscow as on that of the Crimean elites, who reacted to a changed situation and exploited it to serve their interests. But once Crimea had been annexed, the main task facing Russian diplomacy was to defend the acquisition. Part of this involved sacrificing the interests of the Ukrainian south-east.
For some, 1) Putin does have a secret, long-term strategic plan, which is remarkably working despite anything that we see on the ground or around; we just need to wait and see and watch. Yet, according to way too many people, the secret plan is not that secret--it is simply and ingeniously waiting for the winter. According to the other position presented by Kagarlitsky above, 2) there is no strategic plan. Then, it would, of course, convenient for the rest of us to either put a blind faith into 1) or to say that we occupy one of the many positions in the moderate middle, which is safe, reasonable, does not distinguish itself and does not stick its head out. 

My sense is that Putin himself would like the public to assume 1) and not 2). That's also why, last Tuesday, he said that "all our prognoses [in Ukraine] have unfortunately been fulfilled." Though, yes, there is this adverb in the middle ... if one's prognoses and,implicitly, strategy are being realized, then the word "unfortunately" could be applied only to the tragedy, the rising costs, and heightened threats and risks. 
While it is hard to be blind to the obvious cases of scrambling and improvisations, it is also hard to assume that hundreds or thousands of people who are actually paid to come up with plans would have really empty drawers, binders and safes. 
In order to cut the chase and get down to one essential question of our moment, Kagarlitsky's last sentence from above is a critical point: "Part of this [securing and defending the acquisition of Crimea] involved sacrificing the interests of the Ukrainian south-east."
Kagarlitsky assumes that this strategic decision has already been made, and there is much available that would support this claim. What questions this are less actions or statements of Moscow than the determined resistance of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. They refuse to agree.
The critical point ought to be turned into a critical question (if it is still possible and even necessary to ask it): "Is defending the acquisition of Crimea secured by sacrificing the interests of the Ukrainian south-east?" 

And the question's inevitable follow-up:
"Does sacrificing the interests of the Ukrainian south-east secure Russia's own broader interests, its stability, status, prestige and does it advance and secure struggle against fascism in Ukraine and anti-imperialist struggles elsewhere?" 
Putin’s alternative is to come to the defense of the Ukrainians who are being attacked. Putin could accept the requests of the rebellious provinces to rejoin Russia as he did with Crimea, declare Washington’s stooge, Petro Poroshenko, to be a war criminal and issue a warrant for his arrest, and send in the Russian military to face down the forces sent by Kiev. Outside the West, this would establish Putin as a defender of human rights. Inside the West it would make it completely clear to Washington’s European vassals that the consequence of their alignment with Washington is that they will be drawn into war with Russia and, likely, also with China. Europeans have nothing to gain from these wars. ... Putin has done what he can to avoid conflict. Now he needs to do the right thing, as he did in Georgia and Crimea.
Several things can be said about Paul Craig Robert's sober and realistic evaluation. Among these, the one that strikes me is this: "Putin’s alternative is to come to the defense of the Ukrainians who are being attacked ... this would establish Putin as a defender of human rights."
It is evident that Putin is neither any liberal in the US-British sense of the word nor a neo-liberal. In the former case, this means that he does not treat human rights as effectively, strategically, and cynically as Machiavelli or Hobbes and their pupils do. In the latter case, In the former case, this means that he does not treat human rights as effectively, strategically, and cynically as today's Democrats or Republicans in the US do. At the same time, he is in many ways a Russian realist, which means that while he is not approaching human rights cynically, he does not treat them strategically or as a great concern either. 

In practice and in what he or Lavrov are saying, this then means that the notion of fascism as a radical rejection and massive violation of human rights does not even seem to have come up in their minds. 
Furthermore, this also means that, either out of ideological and political preference or by default, the Kremlin is staying away from the human rights language and thus reduces its own position vis-a-vis Ukraine and potential greater involvement to weak, general and ineffective appeals. Whether this inability to present a stronger case for helping the people's republics is by default--due to the Russian government's character and idiosyncrasies, which does not allow Putin and his government to talk more convincingly of human rights and their violations in Ukraine and even of fascism there--or whether it is by a deliberate choice not to have a strong case and position for greater involvement, i.e., intervention, is a question the answer to which is most likely multi-factorial and has shares in both. For no one can think that far outside of one's character, and thinking and judgment is a key part of character itself. Our choices are bound up with who we are.

So here is just a rough sketch of my thoughts an article from the Sovetskaya Rossiya which is an example of the above said new phenomenon. I am familiar with the use of the term Bonapartism and I do think that it does not describe Russia's current system. What is interesting though is that some sort of Bonapartism was alleged to have been entertained for an envisaged disintegration of Russia toward the 1990s. Otherwise, much of it goes in the article from point 4 down has for me a weight and looks like sober and serious warnings. 

Strelkov's first observation supported by some other serious commentators when he arrived in Donetsk emphasized the unpreparedness of Donetsk for the war and the strikingly notable underestimation of what serious defense requires. If this situation exists in Donetsk, then one might perhaps also find some excuse or rather measure for a similar attitude, and most likely even stronger, on the part of Moscow. 

The world, Russia, and anyone concerned about the rising reaction is now staring into the face of an arisen beast of fascism, which is already well networked and interconnected and in the midst of its mobilization. 
Today, I posted two relatively simple questions in two different posts about the situation and its dilemma. The interesting sociological result was that no one actually dared or bothered to give a response to those questions, which the above article is in fact also trying to address. 

This suggests at least two things: 1) accepted memes and received notions are blocking further though t process and other thoughts and 2) many people prefer at this moment a state of denial. As a minimum, what I think can be said is that Putin was always comfortable to lead and rule as if from behind, this he balanced from time to time with his several hours long interviews. This style now, however, starts looking as the lack or retreat of leadership. There is also a good deal of evidence that Moscow has been relying on and trusting in some possibility of a compromise or deal, using connections among various oligarchs. Perhaps similar to that kind of understanding Putin struck with most of the Russian oligarchs in Russia. 

Instead of seeing this (pacification through mutual oligarchic rapprochement) as a workable solution, I see rather as a problem and hole in the fortress of Russia. Russia is a would-be Prometheus bound by the chains of oligarchy, and oligarchy has no desire to fight fascism in Ukraine. The situation is also severely compounded by hopelessly entangled old ideological lines and narratives. Ukrainian communists are part of the junta's "representative" system, supporting the legitimacy of the regime. That's why Ukrainian communists have been similar in their function to the discredited Party of Regions. Russian communists have become split into various sections, and Zyuganov's communists are for most part a mix of perestroika communists and late Soviet communists. Some serious ideological or theoretical work needed to be done, but I don't think, it was, and I am much skeptical that it can done in the middle of a war. 

The best might be to learn from the Syrian example where a new national unity is emerging from the left to the right. The trouble with the Russians is that they love to write a lot without really listening to each other, and the trouble with others is that we are usually stuck with what we happened to come to believe. Thus new thinking and new synthesis seem to be out of reach. Institutionalized beliefs are also often dead beliefs, and those outside of established institutions are just that--outside.

At the same time, people in Donbas spontaneously supported antifascist and anti-oligarchic slogans almost as much some sort of new or renewed people's power (hence people's republics). Leadership of the antifascist struggle thus went to (right-wing, right-center) nationalists and military officers even though their ideological platforms are entangled and problematic as much of those on the left or anywhere else. Going back to the tasks of the moment: Russia could have pre-empted the war in Donbass, as she did in Crimea, had she acted boldly and decisively. That window of opportunity closed a week after the referenda. If Russia fails to take further effective deterrent and pre-emptive actions, then the Empire will turn on massive-scale technologies of destabilization, chaos, and violence--from Ukraine, Central Asia (Uzbekistan is already almost on the verge of its own convulsion), and from within. Much of the organization, networks, people, tools, know-how is in an advanced state of preparation. The writing is on the wall.

Syria, where numerous techniques of managed chaos were tested and applied, also offers numerous dearly paid lessons. One of which was this observation of a Syrian high ranking officer: "When the troubles began, we though that it would be a version of the Muslim Brotherhood uprising from 1982. In this regard, we totally underestimated and misjudged what has been prepared for us."

Currently, some 40 million Ukrainians are being added to a balance sheet against Russia thanks to the massive propaganda campaign against Russia, Russians, and their very right to defend themselves. Banderism is on a mission, and it is well supported, organized, armed, and advised. Moreover, these 40 million Ukrainians are not just a hypothetical weight as in the case of most of these Westerners. But the Ukrainian regime already sees itself as being at war with Russia. And it is now just mobilizing and gathering power. 

While the people's republics appear to be basically on their own, Putin himself is now facing very sharp attacks from within. It is greatly the fault of the critics themselves, one might say. A good deal of responsibility for it, however, also goes to the adopted policies toward Ukraine and the people's republics unrecognized by Moscow itself. While the liberal fifth column mentored by the West has been Putin's fierce opponent of Putin as a matter of principle and tends to see in the Kiev junta its close, if not closest ally right next to the US and NATO, these new critics are among Russian patriots themselves. 
Ukraine and even more so eastern Ukraine is not an Afghanistan. It is a part of Russia taken from Russia by the communists. Not helping eastern Ukraine, Russia is acquiescing in aggression against herself. The essential question to be asked is what happens once the fascist junta defeats the people's republics and declares its victory and, justifiably so, a as a victory over Russia and as Russia's defeat? And does anyone believe that the fully mobilized and combat ready Ukrainian army, by that time, certainly larger than 100-150,000 and with full and unreserved NATO support, will just go back to its barracks, disarm, and demobilize? Moreover, instead of the "Russian Spring" we might be getting Russian paralysis--both of the government and the people. There is no paralysis on the part of Kiev.

Currently, some 40 million Ukrainians are being added to a balance sheet against Russia thanks to the massive propaganda campaign against Russia, Russians, and their very right to defend themselves. Banderism is on a mission, and it is well supported, organized, armed, and advised. Moreover, these 40 million Ukrainians are not just a hypothetical weight as in the case of most of these Westerners. But the Ukrainian regime already sees itself as being at war with Russia. And it is now just mobilizing and gathering power. 

So, seeing all this, one has an impression that, soon after Crimea returned to Russia, something happened, and Putin has become his own version of the composite animal from Book X of Plato's Republic. This time comprising not just himself, but also his predecessors, Yeltsin and Gorbachev, and even Yanukovich. Unless Yanukovich himself did not flee to Russia for safety only, but to morphed into Putin himself.

There is other nagging hypothesis is that, at some point in March or April, Moscow and Washington struck a secret deal. And the rest is just smoggy fog, posturing, PR, and much suffering. In the light of what Moscow has been stating and doing since that time, the burden of disproving this ought to be on the fans of VVP.

In this situation, the only way for the people's republics to survive is to become what they purport to be--true people's republics. There is no other road left.

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