Ukrainian Nationalism —
Its Roots and Nature
by The Saker
February 24, 2014
PART ONE: A Preliminary Excursion in Ancient History
Innocent III, 1204 — The Eastern Crusade of Pope Innocent III
Most people mistakenly believe that the Crusades only happened in the Middle-East and that they were only directed at Islam. This is false. In fact, while the official excuse for western imperialism at that time was to free the city of Jerusalem from the "Muslim infidels" the crusades also were aimed at either exterminating or converting the "Greek schismatics" i.e. the Orthodox Christians. The most notorious episode of this anti-Orthodox crusade is the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, during the 4th Crusade, in which the city was subjected to three days of absolutely grotesque pillaging, looting and massacres by the western "Christians" who even looted and burned down Orthodox churches, monasteries and convents, raped nuns on church altars and even placed a prostitute on the Patriarchal throne. This outpouring of genocidal hatred was hardly a fluke, but it was one of the earliest manifestation of something which would become a central feature of the mindset and ideology of the Latin Church.
There is, however, another no less important episode in the history of the Latin hatred for the Orthodox Church which is far less known.
Gregory IX, 1242 — The Northern Crusades of Pope Gregory IX
Unlike his predecessor who directed his soldiers towards the Holy Land, Pope Gregory IX had a very different idea: he wanted to convert the "pagans" of the North and East of Europe to the "true faith". In his mind, Orthodox Russia was part of these "pagan lands" and Orthodox Christians were pagans too. His order to the Teutonic Knights (the spiritual successors of the Franks who had pillaged and destroyed Rome) was to either convert or kill all the pagans they would meet (this genocidal order was very similar to the one given by Ante Pavelic to his own forces against the Serbs during WWII: convert, kill or expel). In most history books Pope Gregory IX has earned himself a name by instituting the Papal Inquisition (which has never been abolished, by the way), so it is of no surprise that this gentleman was in no mood to show any mercy to the "Greek schismatics". This time, however, the Pope's hordes were met by a formidable defender: Prince Alexander Nevsky.
Saint Alexander Nevsky's "civilizational choice"
Even before dealing with the Pope's Crusaders Alexander Nevsky had already had to repel an earlier invasion of Russia by the West — the attempt to invade norther Russia by the Swedish Kingdom — which he defeated in 1240 at the famous Battle of the Neva. No less important, however, is the fact that Alexander Nevsky was unable to defeat Mongol invasion from the East and so he was placed between what can only be called a civilizational choice: he understood that Russia could not fight the Papacy and the Mongols at the same time, so the choice was simple: to submit to one and to resist the other. But which one should he chose to submit Russia to?
Prince Alexander (who would later be glorified as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church) was truly a deeply pious man who had a deep understanding of the Holy Scripture and who remembered the words of Christ when asked whether Jews should pay taxes to the Romans: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt 22:21) and "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt 10:28). Alexander, who was very well informed of the policies of his enemies knew that the sole goal of the Mongols was to extract taxes from the Russians, but that they had no desire to convert anybody or to persecute the Church. Quite to the contrary, the putatively "savage" Mongols respected the Church and its clergy and they never persecuted it. In contrast, the Crusaders were given the specific order to convert or murder all the Orthodox Christians they would encounter as the Latins had done many times before, and as they would do many times later. Thus Prince Alexander Nevsky chose to submit to the Mongol Khan and to fight the Crusaders whom he defeated at the famous Battle of the Ice in 1242.
Western Russia occupied, fall of the 2nd Rome, rise of Moscow
Having been defeated by Russia twice, western leaders temporarily renounced their invasion plans, but the Russian victory clearly did not endear the Russian people or culture to the western elites. Predictably the next wave of invasions from the West began in the early 14th century and lasted until 1385 when the Union of Krewo sealed the union of Poland and Lithuania. At that moment in time all of what would be called later "the Ukraine" was fully conquered by the Latins.
In 1453, the Fall of Rome in the East, in Constantinople, marked the end of the "Second Rome" and the end of the Roman civilization which had survived the Fall of Rome in by a full one thousand years (the western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD; the eastern Roman Empire fell in 1453).
The Latins did attempt to submit the Orthodox world by a careful mix of threats and promises to assist Constantinople against the Ottomans at the so-called False Union of Florence, but they had failed, and Constantinople eventually fell to armies of Mehmet the Conqueror. Thus, Moscow became the "Third Rome", the last free Orthodox Christian Kingdom, the civilizational heir to the Roman civilization. Moscow would now become the focal point of the Papist hatred for Orthodox Christianity. The next western strike would come in 1595 and it would be a truly devastating one.
Clement VIII, 1595 — Pope Clement VIII conceives the Ukraine
By the end of the 16th century, most of western Russia had been occupied by the Latins for two hundred years (14th-16th), as long as the Mongol Yoke on eastern Russia (13th-15th century). Predictably the situation of the Orthodox Christian peasants under the Latin occupation was nothing short of terrible. For all practical purposes, it was enslaved, as Israel Shahak explains in his seminal book Jewish History, Jewish Religion:Due to many causes, medieval Poland lagged in its development behind countries like England and France; a strong feudal-type monarchy — yet without any parliamentary institutions — was formed there only in the 14th century, especially under Casimir the Great (1333-70). Immediately after his death, changes of dynasty and other factors led to a very rapid development of the power of the noble magnates, then also of the petty nobility, so that by 1572 the process of reduction of the king to a figure head and exclusion of all other non-noble estates from political power was virtually complete. ... This process was accompanied by a debasement in the position of the Polish peasants (who had been free in the early Middle Ages) to the point of utter serfdom, hardly distinguishable from outright slavery and certainly the worst in Europe. The desire of noblemen in neighboring countries to enjoy the power of the Polish pan over his peasants (including the power of life and death without any right of appeal) was instrumental in the territorial expansion of Poland. The situation in the 'eastern' lands of Poland (Byelorussia and the Ukraine) — colonized and settled by newly enserfed peasants — was worst of all.
Indeed, the local elites had been more then happy to apostatize and sell out to the Polish occupier to enjoy the privileges of slave-owning (before that Russia had never known serfdom!) while the enslaved peasants stubbornly held on to their faith (interestingly, this is also the period of history when Ukrainian Judeophobia was born — read Shahak for details). Something needed to be done to find a "solution" to this "problem" and, sure enough, a Pope (Clement VIII) found it: the forcible conversion of the local Orthodox Christians to the Latin church: the so-called Union of Brest. Thus began a long period of vicious persecution of the Orthodox peasantry by the combined efforts of the Polish nobility, their Jewish overseers and, especially, the Jesuits who justified any atrocity under the slogan "ad majorem Dei gloriam" ("to the greater Glory of God"). One man, in particular, excelled in the persecution of Orthodox Christians: Josphat Kuntsevich (whose biography you can read about in this text: The Vatican and Russia). Kuntsevich — who was eventually lynched by a mob of peasants — was buried in the Saint Peter basilica in Rome near, I kid you not, the relics of Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom (!). The Latins still refer to this mass murderer as "martyr for Christ" (see here for a typical Papist hagiography of Kuntsevich) and he is still greatly respected and admired amongst modern Ukrainian nationalists. And I can see why — it is during these years of occupation and persecution that modern "Ukraine" was created, maybe not yet as a territory, but definitely as a cultural entity.
The ethnogenesis of the "Ukrainian nation"
Nations, like individuals, are born, live and die. In fact, as Shlomo Sands so brilliantly demonstrated in his book The Invention of the Jewish People, nations are really invented, created. In fact, the 20th Century has shown us many nations invented ex nihilo, out of nothing (in order to avoid offending somebody or getting sidetracked, I shall not give examples, but God knows there are many). A "nation" does not need to have deep historical and cultural roots, it does not need to have a legitimate historiography, in fact, all it takes to "create a nation" is a certain amount of people identifying themselves as a community — all the rest can be created/invented later. Thus the argument of some Russians that there is no such thing as a Ukrainian nation is fundamentally mistaken: if there are enough people identifying themselves as "Ukrainian" then a distinct "Ukrainian nation" exists. It does not matter at all that there is no trace of that nation in history or that its founding myths are ridiculous as long as a distinct common is shared by its members. And from that point of view, the existence of a Ukrainian nation fundamentally different from the Russian one is an undeniable reality. And that is the immense achievement of the Latin Church — it undeniably succeeded in its desire to cut-off the western Russians from their historical roots and to create a new nation: the Ukrainians.
As an aside, but an important one I think, I would note that the Mongols played a similarly crucial role in the creation of the modern Russian nation. After all, what are the "founding blocks" of the Russian culture. The culture of the Slavs before the Christianization of Russia in the 10th century? Yes, but minimally. The continuation of the Roman civilization after the Fall of the Second Rome? Yes, to some degree, but not crucially. The adoption of the Christian faith after the 10 century? Yes, definitely. But the Russian *state* which grew out of the rather small Grand Duchy of Moscow was definitely shaped by the Mongol culture and statecraft, not Byzantium or ancient Rus. It would not be incorrect to say that ancient Kievan Rus eventually gave birth to two distinct nations: a Ukrainian one fathered by the Papist occupation and a Russian one, fathered by the Mongol occupation. In that sense the russophobic statement of the Marquis de Custine "Grattez le Russe, et vous verrez un Tartare" ("scratch the Russian and you will find a Mongol beneath") is correct. Equally, however, I would argue that one could say that "scratch the Ukrainian, and you will find the Papist beneath".
At this point I do not want to continue outlining the history of the Ukraine because I think I have made my point clear: the Ukrainian nation is the product of the thousand year old hatred of Orthodox Christianity by the Papacy. Just as modern rabbinical Judaism is really nothing more than an anti-Christianity, the modern Ukrainian national identity is basically centered on a rabid, absolutely irrational and paranoid hated and fear of Russia. That is not to say that all the people who live in the Ukraine partake in that hysterical russophobia, not at all, but the nationalist hard-core definitely does. And this point is so crucial that I felt that I had to make this long digression into ancient history to explain it.
I have to add one more thing: the Latin Church has undergone tremendous changes in the 20th century and even its Jesuits have long departed from the traditions and ideas of their predecessors of the Counter-Reformation. Though hatred of the Orthodox Christians and Russian still exists in some Latin circles, it has mostly been replaced by a desire to "incorporate" or swallow the Orthodox Church into the Papacy by means of the so-called "Ecumenical dialog". As for the rank and file Roman Catholic faithful — they simply have no idea at all about this history which, of course, is never taught to them
The Papacy's goal end is still the same — submission to the Pope. But the methods and emotions have changed: it used to be hatred and terror, now its a "dialog of love". Amongst the Ukrainian nationalists and Uniats, however, the mindset practically has not changed. From the likes of Stepan Bandera to his modern successor, Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector, the Ukrainian nationalists have kept the murderous hatred of Josphat Kuntsevich, hence some of the crazy statements these folks have made.
We now need to make a 3-century long jump in time and look at the roots of Fascism and National-Socialism in the early 20th Century. We have to make this jump not because these centuries were not important for the Ukraine — they very much were — but for the sake of space and time. The key feature of the time period we will skip is basically the rise in power of Russia, which became an Empire under Peter I, and the corresponding weakening of the Polish and Lithuanian states which ended up completely occupied by Russia on several occasions.
PART TWO: Fascism, National Socialism and their different roots
We are typically taught that WWII war saw the victory of the "Allied Powers" against the "Axis powers". While not incorrect, these categories are often confusing. For example, according to Wikipedia, France and Yugoslavia were part of the Allied Powers. That, of course, depends on which regime one considers as legitimate, the one of Petain or de Gaulle or the one of Pavelic, Tito or Mikhailovich? Also — does it really make sense to lump the Soviet Union with the British Empire and the USA? What about Petain, Hitler and Hirohito? Well, they were allies, no doubt here, but they were very different entities and their alliance was mostly one against common enemies rather than the result of real kinship. This is particularly true of Hitler's allies in Europe: Mussolini, of course, but also Franco, Petain or Pavlic. Indeed, while both Hitler and Mussolini were atheist (and even rabid anti-clericalist), Franco, Petain and Pavelic were all devout Roman Catholics. And if the Papacy never felt comfortable with the secularist, nationalist and socialist ideas of Hitler or Mussolini, it gave its full support to Franco, Pavelic and Petain. Hitler and Mussolini were primarily the expression of the views and interests of the petit bourgeois and worker classes, while Franco, Pavelic and Petain were very much an expression of the interests of the financial elites and noblity. In France, in particular, the Petainist movement always had a very strong anti-1789 almost monarchist ethos. Deeply, of course, there was not much love lost between the atheist-populist and Papist-monarchist groups. But what did united is a common hatred for Jews, Bolsheviks, Russians and Orthodox Christians in general combined with a profoundly reactionary ideology.
The two different Drang nach Osten
Both the atheist-populist and the Papist-monarchists factions had in common a very strong "Drang nach Osten" and both saw themselves as Kulturträger, literally "carriers of civilization" to the savage barbarians of the East. Hitler's beef with the Soviet Union was, of course, the very high numbers of Jews in the Bolshevik Party (hence his talk of Judeo-Bolshevism) while the Papacy hated Jews, atheists and Orthodox Christians pretty much equally (Franco liked to speak of the "conspiración judeo masonica pagada con el oro de Moscú" or "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy paid for by Moscow's gold"). And while Hitler looked towards the East to provide land and slaves for his Master Race, the Papacy saw a fantastic opportunity to finally submit the "Photian schismatics" to Rome: already on the eve of WWI, Pope Pius X (who was canonized in 1954) pronounced "Russia is the greatest enemy Of the [Roman] Church" and "If Russia is victorious, then the schism is victorious" (and keep in mind that according to Latin doctrine — these folks are infallible when speaking ex-cathedra, in the name of the Church and on issues of faith). Thus these two originally very different movement joined forces and united against the arch-enemy: Russia (whether atheist, Jewish and Bolshevik or Russian and Orthodox — it did not matter to them). Needless to say, this toxic brew of hatred found an absolutely perfect Petri dish for its views amongst the Ukrainian nationalists, especially, in the Western Ukraine.
Again, for a lack of time and space, I will not go into a history of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Stepan Bandera or the "Ukrainian" SS Division Galizien — you can read about them on the Internet. I will just say that these forces were amongst the most cruel and murderous of any in WWII. In fact, the most rabid atrocities of WWII were not committed by Hitler's forces, not even the SS, but by the forces fully inspired and supported by the Vatican: the Croatian Ustashe of Ante Pavelic and the Ukrainian nationalists. Eventually, the Ustashe and the Banderovsty were defeated, but a lot of its members not only survived the war, but prospered in exile, mostly in the USA and Canada, where the Angloshpere kept them away from actual politics, but active enough to be "defrosted" should the need arise. And, sure enough, following the end of the Cold War, the AngloZionist Empire saw an opportunity to subvert and weaken its enemies: the descendants of the Ustashe were tasked with breaking up Yugoslavia while the descendants of Bandera were tasked with breaking the Ukraine as far away form Russia as possible. At the same time, both in Yugoslavia and in Russia, the AngloZionists directed another of its terrorist franchises — the Wahabi international aka "al-Qaeda" — to join the Neo-Nazis and Papists in a common struggle against the Orthodox/Socialist Yugoslavia and Russia. We all know what happened to Yugoslavia after that.
PART THREE — the Ukraine — Back to the Future
2014 — The belly is still fertile from which the foul beast sprang
At this point in time I want to say a few things about the (now ex-) Ukrainian "opposition". During the past months, we were mostly told that it was represented by three men: Vitalii Klichko and his UDAR movement, Arsenii Iatseniuyk and his Batkivshchyna Party, and Oleh Tiagnibok, notorious leader of the Freedom Party. Of course, the real leader of the Batkivshchyna Party always was Yulia Tymoshenko, but since she had been jailed by Yanukovich, she could not directly participate in the most recent events. Most western observers have neglected to ask the question whether any of these political figures really could control the demonstrators on the Maidan square. Furthermore, they also neglected to look into how a crowed armed mostly with stones, baseball bats, iron bars and Molotov cocktails had "suddenly" been replaced by a well-organized and well-armed force of what can only be called insurgents. The force which really packed the most strength and firepower, was not composed of members of the UDAR, Batkivshchyna or even Freedom Party — the real owner of the Maidan and now of the rest of Kiev is the so-called Right Sector, a terrorist organization headed by Dmytro Yarosh:
If the photo above looks like it might have been taken in Chechnia during the war, that is because it could have been: many Ukrainian nationalists fought on the side of the Wahabis in Chechnia, often under the banner of the UNA-UNSO terrorist organization. They also fought in Georgia against Russia, hence the visit Saakashvili made twice to the Maidan Square.
It would be logical to ask what percentage of the people of the Ukraine support Mr Yarosh and his Right Sector. It is hard to tell, but probably a seizable but small minority. By most estimates, the most popular leaders of the new regime are Tymoshenko and Klichko, followed by Tiagnibok — at least that was true before the revolution of last Sunday. But that is hardly relevant: most Chechens were not Wahabis, most Croats were not Ustashe and most Kosovo Albanians were not KLA — that did not prevent these small but well armed groups from having a decisive control over the events.
This places the new regime in a very difficult situation: either it complies with the agenda of the likes of Yarosh and his Right Sector, or it risks to be swiped away by an armed insurrection. Keep in mind that the Ukrainian military basically exists only on paper and that the police forces are in no condition to impose their authority on the extremists.
What is worse, the Presidency of Yushchenko has shown that the so-called "moderate" nationalists constantly kowtow to the extremists. Thus Yushchenko even made Bandera "hero of Ukraine" (the decision was later rescinded) and printed nice little stamps with his face. The problem with that is kind of seemingly innocuous action is in reality a rehabilitation of genocidal ideology and that it sends a truly terrifying and revolting message to the East Ukrainians and Russians in the Ukraine: we are back and we mean business.
It has mostly been overlooked, but a similar situation took place in Croatia at the moment of the breakup of Yugoslavia: the Croats, even the so-called "moderates" found nothing more intelligent to do than to immediately reintroduce the checkered flag of the Ustashe of Pavelic as a "Croatian national symbol". To what degree this encouraged the Serbs in the Krajinas to take up arms is open to debate, but it certainly did not help.
The same thing is now also taking place in the Ukraine. Besides the yellow and blue flags of the western Ukraine, one can also see lots of black and red flags, the flag of the Banderovsty, along with all sorts of neo-Nazi symbols. And, again, it does not really matter how many Ukrainians are suffering from genocidal tendencies, what matters is how these flags are seen in the eastern Ukraine or by the 7 million Russians who live in the Ukraine.
The reaction to the coup in Kiev was immediate. Check out this screenshot of a video showing a mass rally in the city of Sevastopol:
Notice the flags? Before the coup, the rallies in the east featured almost exclusively Ukrainian yellow and blue flags, now the flags are mostly Russian with a few interspersed Russian Navy flags: the people are either angry or frightened. Probably both. And the potential for violence therefore rapidly escalates.
Check out this video of an attempt by pro-regime activist to hold a demonstration in the city of Kerch and see for yourself how rapidly the situation gets of out control. The angry crowd begins with screams of "go away!" and "Fascists!" but soon the cops lose control of the situation and a mob begins to assault the nationalist activists. Click on the following link to see for yourself:
Just as in Croatia and Bosnia, EU and US politicians have ignored (whether by stupidity or deliberately) that fear begets violence which, in turn, begets more fear, in an endless positive feedback loop which is almost impossible to stop.
So where do we go from here?
Frankly, I had some hopes that Yulia Tymoshenko might still save the Ukraine. No, not because I like her, but because I recognize the strength of her personality, especially when compared to the either terminally stupid (Tiagnibok, Klichko) or spineless (Iatseniuk, Yanukovich) men in Ukrainian politics. As one Russian journalist put it yesterday: it's good to finally see a "real man" entering the Ukrainian political scene. And indeed, for all her other faults, Yulia has three things going for her: she is very intelligent, she is strong willed and she is very popular. Or, at least, that was what she had going for her before Yanukovich threw her in jail. When I saw the footage of her appearance on the Maidan, in a wheelchair, her face puffed up, sounding hysterical and completely unaware of the fact that she was surrounded by neo-Nazis, I began having my doubts. Clearly, she had a very bad time in Yanukovich's dungeon. And to those who will say that she was every bit as corrupt as all the other oligarchs I would say this: while all the other oligarchs see power as a way to make money, Tymoshenko sees money as a way to seize power. There is a huge difference here.
Then, unlike Tiagnibok or Yarosh, Tymoshenko does not look genocidal, not has she ever tried to play the role of a "modern Bandera". Then, unlike the typical Ukrainian neo-Nazis, Yulia is nominally Orthodox, not "Greek Catholic" (i.e. Latin). Not that I believe that any of them are particularly religious, no, but at least Tymoshenko was not raised with the kind of maniacal hatred for everything Russian in which "Greek Catholic" kids are typically raised.
Finally, Tymoshenko is definitely smart enough to understand that there is no way to keep the Ukraine as a unitary state if the neo-Nazis are de facto in power, whether directly or through a number of "moderate" puppets.
So maybe I was naïve, but I had some hope that Yulia could keep the Ukraine together. No, not because I am such a true supporter of the "Independent Ukraine", but because I would find any solution preferable to a partition of the Ukraine which would inevitably become violent.
Why is violence inevitable?
Paradoxically, the main cause here are not the followers of Bandera. Some of them have, in fact, spoken in favor of a separation of the western Ukraine from the rest of the country. As far as I know, they are in the minority, but it is still interesting that at least some of then are aware that the notion of turning all of the Ukraine into Galicia is simply ludicrous. Most nationalists are, however, dead set against any partition for two reasons. Prestige: they know that "their" Ukraine is, in reality, much smaller than the Ukraine inherited from the Soviet era. Money: they know that all the real wealth of the Ukraine is in the East. Last, but not least, the real puppet-masters of the Ukrainian nationalists (the US) want to deprive Russia of the wealth of the eastern Ukraine and of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast. So anybody expecting the nationalists to gracefully agree to a civil divorce between West and Southeast is day dreaming: it ain't happening, at least not by referendum or any other form of consultations.
History also teaches us that it is impossible to force two groups to coexist when the hate and fear each other, at least not without a lot of violence.
The situation in the East is as simple as it is stark: Yanukovich is politically dead. The party of regions has basically exploded and new politicians are popping up in Kharkov, in Sevastopol and in other cities. Large self-defense forces are being organized locally and the population is basically ready to fight. Considering the circumstances, these are all positive developments. On the negative side there is the fact that the eastern oligarchs are still here, still ready to betray their own people for profit (just as the Ukrainian elites did during the Union of Brest) and that the local political forces are, by most accounts, being rather amateurishly organized. Finally, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what Russia really wants.
What about Russia in all this?
I think that Russia truly does want to avoid a civil war in the Ukraine and that it prefers a separate Ukraine to a partition. Why? Think of it:
For Russia a separate and independent Ukraine is first and foremost a way of avoiding being drawn into a civil war. If, say, Tymoshenko managed to supress the neo-Nazis and negotiate some kind of modus vivendi between, on one hand, the western Ukraine and Kiev and, on the other, the eastern and southern Ukraine there is little doubt that she and Putin could find some peaceful and pragmatic way to coexist. Oh, I am not speaking about a love-fest, that is simply not going to happen, but at least some mutually beneficial, civil and pragmatic relations are imaginable. That would most definitely be the Kremlin's preferred option (which just goes to show how stupid and paranoid the Ukie nationalists — and Susan Rice — are when they hallucinate about a Russian invasion of the Ukraine).
Another option is to have the nationalists take full control over all of the Ukraine. That seems extremely unlikely to me, but who knows? I have been disappointed with Ukie politicians enough not to put the worst possible outcome past them. That would mean that the Russian-Ukrainian border would turn into something between the Wall which separated the two parts of Germany during the Cold War or the DMZ between the two parts of Korea. From a military point of view, not a problem at all. As I wrote in the past, even if NATO deploys troops in the Ukraine, which they would, that close to the Russian territory military assets basically turn into lucrative targets: Russia would deploy enough Iskanders to cover its target list and that's all. As for the Black Sea Fleet, it could either simply refuse to leave and see if NATO has the stomach to try for force it out, or engage in the costly but possible fallback option of relocating to Novorossiysk (admittedly, not a good option, but better than nothing). But, again, this is an exceedingly unlikely scenario.
Which leaves option three: the nationalist attempt to subdue the south and east and fail. The violence escalates and eventually Russia is drawn in. Now in purely military terms, Russia could very easily defeat any Ukie army which would attempt to fight it. As for NATO and the US — they don't have the means to deploy some "combined joint task force" to repel the Russian military in the Ukraine. So short of starting a mutually destructive nuclear war, they would have to accept the facts on the ground. But just imagine the nightmare resulting from a Russian military operation in eastern Ukraine! It would be back to a new Cold War, but this time on steroids: western politicians would scramble over each other to denounce, declare, threaten, condemn, proclaim, sanction, and pledge God knows what kind of nonsense. Hysterical russophobia would become the order of the day and the AngloZionist Empire would finally find the kind of eternal enemy it has desperately been seeking since the end of the First Cold War. If they got really ugly, and they probably would, China would most likely be involved too, and we would have exactly the kind of planet the 1% plutocracy has been dreaming about for so many years: Oceania locked into a total war against Eurasia and Eastasia, just like Orwell had predicted it:
This is most definitely not what Russia — or China — need. And yet, this is a real risk if a civil war breaks out in the Ukraine. One "least bad" option to avoid such a scenario would be to make sure that the east and southern Ukrainians are strong enough to repel a nationalist invasion by themselves so that the Russian military can stay out of the conflict.
So there is the difficult judgment call the Kremlin needs to make: the Kremlin has to decide whether:
(a) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are disorganized, demoralized, made passive by the rule of corrupt oligarchs and basically unable to defend themselves, or
(b) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are united, organized and determined enough to really make a stand and fight the neo-Nazis down to the last bullet.
In the first case, the Kremlin would have to basically protect the Russian borders and prepare to manage the large numbers of refugees which will inevitably cross the border.
In the second case, the Kremlin would have a strong incentive to assist the eastern and southern Ukrainians by all possible means short of an over and direct military intervention.
Both of these options are dangerous and neither of them is preferable to a united Ukraine lead by a more or less rational leader. This is why, at least at the initial stage, I expect Russia to really support any halfway sane regime in Kiev in the hope of avoiding a breakup of the Ukraine.
What about the US and the EU in all this?
Well, as I recently wrote, the US and the EU have very different objectives in the Ukraine: the EU wants a market for its goods and services, the US wants to hurt Russia as much as possible. We have all seen the total lack of effectiveness of the EU bureaucrats and their naïve attempts at finding a negotiated solution. The US foreign policy goal has the advantage of being simple yet clear: fuck Russia and fuck the EU! From the US point of view, the worse the situation becomes, the better it is for Uncle Sam. At the very least, this hurts Russia, at the very best, it gives the US a wonderful pretext to "protect" Europe from the "resurgent Russian bear" while standing up for civilization, democracy and progress. A Neocon's wet dream ...
And then, there is the "S factor": stupidity, plain and simple. What often seems to be the result of some Machiavellian plan cooked up in a deep basement of the White House, the CIA or the Pentagon, is often a mind-blowing example of the truly phenomenal stupidity, ignorance and arrogance of the leaders. They believe themselves to be so powerful as to be free from the need to understand a culture, a history or even a single foreign language. After all, if a US policy were to fail somewhere, the response could always be the same: fuck them! Fuck the Yugoslavs! Fuck the Serbs! Fuck the Iraqis! Fuck the Afghans! Fuck the Pakistanis! Fuck the Libyans, and the Egyptians, and the Palestinians, and fuck the Somalis, the Koreans, the Colombians and the Venezuelans and, of course, fuck the Canadians, the Mexicans, and the Africans, and, of course, fuck the Russians, fuck the Chinese, and fuck everybody else with it! No matter how stupid or how destructive a US policy towards another party, either it either works or fuck them! Ms Nuland's words could really become the State Department's or the CIA's official motto.
My conclusion? Pessimistic, of course :-)
Those reading my blog for awhile already will not be surprised to see that, yet again, I have reached a very pessimistic conclusion: the future of the Ukraine looks absolutely terrible: the country is ruined, it has no economy, it is socially, culturally and politically non-viable, it will most likely be led either by imbeciles or by racist maniacs, and the biggest power on the planet will spare no effort to add more fuel on the fire. Keep in mind that no single Ukrainian politician has anything even remotely resembling a plan to resurrect the currently dead Ukrainian economy. The only and last chance for the Ukraine was to survive on the "Russian financial respirator" — but that has now been turned off, at least for the foreseeable future: the Ukies can have their Banderovite Revolution, but the Russians don't have to pay for it.
Last November I wrote a piece entitled The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine in which I pretty much predicted what has happened since. I wrote:I am assuming that the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will eventually prevail, and that Yanukovich will either fully complete his apparent "zag" and reverse his decision, or lose power. One way or another the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will, I think, prevail. There will be more joyful demonstrations, fireworks and celebrations in Kiev, along with lots of self-righteous back-slapping and high-fiving in Brussels, and then the gates of Hell will truly open for the Ukraine.
We are now at this point: the Ukraine has now crossed the gates of Hell and has fully entered in a long cycle of tragedy and violence. This is truly immensely sad. And the blame for what will happen next lies first and foremost with those forces who recklessly opened the Pandora's box of medieval and 20th C. hatreds and who encouraged the nationalist demon to strike yet again, and with those who stood by and did nothing: the US and EU politicians, amongst whom not a single one could be found to speak the truth. May they all rot in hell for what they have done!
This article first appeared on The Vineyard of the Saker.
Republished with permission on Serendipity on February 26, 2014.
Selected articles about the Ukraine by The Saker:
- Ukraine's "civilizational choice" — a Pyrrhic victory for Russia? (2013-11-24)
- The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine (2013-11-30)
- The geopolitics of the Ukrainian conflict: back to basics (2014-02-20)
- Ukrainian nationalism — its roots and nature (2014-02-24)
- Follow up to my post about the roots and nature of Ukrainian nationalism (2014-02-26)
- The Kremlin's response to the events in the Ukraine gradually becomes more apparent (2014-02-27)
- Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine — now Russia is ready for war (2014-03-01)
- The Self-defeating Fuite en Avant of the US in the Ukraine (2014-03-03)
Serendipity Home Page