February 22, 2014

No looting

From the NYT:
KIEV, Ukraine — An eerie calm and a light mist shrouded President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s sprawling residential compound just outside the capital on Saturday morning as street fighters from the center of Kiev made their way inside, gingerly passing a wrought-iron gate and cautioning one another about booby traps and snipers. 
They found none of either but discovered instead a world surely just as surreal as the charred wasteland of barricades and debris on the occupied central plaza that has been their home for months. It was a vista of bizarre and whimsical attractions on a grand scale, a panorama of waste and inexplicable taste. 
They saw about a half-dozen large residences of various styles, a private zoo with rare breeds of goats, a coop for pheasants from Asia, a golf course,

I think you can see the golf course under construction on Google Maps. Enter "Novi Petrivtsi," then switch to Satellite view and look for the big dirt construction site in the forest west of the reservoir. Private golf courses are extremely hard to hide these days.
a garage filled with classic cars and a private restaurant in the form of a pirate ship, with the name “Galleon” on the stern. 
One man in the 31st Lviv Hundred, the small band of antigovernment militants that took control of the compound, hung a Ukrainian flag on a lamp post. A few dozen others walked about, seemingly dazed by what was happening. Some raised their clubs, pipes and bats into the air and yelled, “Glory to Ukraine!” and “Glory to its heroes!” 
Whether it was the toppling of Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines or of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, the breaching of the presidential palace gates is a milestone of a revolution. But Kiev on Saturday was unusual in one sense. There was no sacking. The opposition unit that took control of the president’s complex, called Mezhigorye, kept it intact, at least for now. On Saturday, the president fled, and the presidential guard melted away. But members of the Lviv-based “hundred,” who had repeatedly confronted Mr. Yanukovych’s security forces on the streets, posted guards around his residential compound and prevented looting even as swarms of gawking Kiev residents strolled through its grounds. 
The reason, the street fighters said, was to preserve evidence of the ousted leader’s lavish lifestyle for his prosecution. ...
Autocrats seem to have a propensity for private zoos, and Mr. Yanukovych’s palace complex contained multiple enclosures for exotic animals. ... 
The complex extended well over a mile along the river and was immaculately landscaped with hedges, lawns and birch trees, and a golf course of graceful swales, sand traps and pools of crystalline water. 
Even as the crowds grew, there was no sign of looting. 

Except for what had already been looted.
   

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm failing to see the opulence in this "palace". It just looks like an investment banker's property.

Anonymous said...

Well that is not surprising. The Right Sector put out the word that looters would be shot.

Kalashnikov-wielding members of Ukraine's radical nationalist opposition group, Right Sector, have pledged to resort to arms in their fight against those involved in "lawlessness" and looting, saying they will shoot to restore "order and discipline."

"I warn you, if anyone in this town, this area, engages in 'lawlessness' and looting, Right Sector squads will shoot the bastards on the spot. Then there will be order and discipline," one of the radical nationalist opposition group leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko, said on Friday.

Grumpy Old Man said...

This restraint is quite remarkable. When the Bolsheviks took over the Palace, 97 years ago, each successive wave of Red Guards who reached the wine cellars got stinking drunk until all the alcohol was gone, much to Trotsky's disgust. Presumably he got high on power rather than booze.

Making the lavish displays of toppled tyrants into monuments is a useful accompaniment to revolutions.

Of course, the Russians will be sorely tempted to take back, at least, the Crimea.

jody said...

so is that all it takes to completely topple a government? a few HUNDRED guys, tops, who don't even have guns? just baseball bats and plywood?

hell, what are we waiting for.

seriously, this is either the most weird story EVER - an entire revolution started and completed in 1 month by a couple hundred guys who didn't even have firearms - or something is up.

meanwhile, in syria....maybe the rebels should trade in their 50 caliber russian machineguns for baseball bats. the assad regime will fall in 1 week, apparently.

perhaps the founding fathers WERE wrong about the 2nd amendment.

2Degrees said...

It's not THAT opulent. It's just tasteless.

These are dozens of places in the Cotswolds I would rather own that his spread.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see how quickly Greek Phalanx tactics get re-invented in prolonged street fights like this. The protestors were using shields, greaves, doing shield walls, and they seem to have reinvented centuries and centurions as well. They had a trebuchet set up in the main square for a while.

I was looking for an "SPQR" banner or maybe a legion eagle. Also, the re-invention of 12' spears.

The Koreans are also great at organized rioting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR1vNuPkHGc (police practice.)

Anonymous said...

@jody: He dithered. You don't allow a demonstration in the main city square, no matter how secure you think you are. Mubarak allowed it, and look what happened. You go and you break it up quickly, before it has time to grow. And you use the military to break it up, not secondary security services. That way, the military does not have time to develop sympathy for the protesters (aka, ambitious officers don't have time to consider how a change in the regime would aid their career prospects).

Anonymous said...

The premises are guarded by Right Sector and "Maidan Self-defense." That's why.

Anonymous said...

"or something is up"

starting to seem that way. i suspect judo although that may just be wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hugo's kids know how to do it right!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2564825/Hugo-Chavezs-daughters-refuse-presidential-palace-hold-deafening-parties-five-die-violent-protests-streets-Venezuela.html

Anonymous said...

It's going to be interesting to see what the next move is from Vladimir Vladimirovich.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/world/europe/russia-ukraine-rejects-putins-offer-for-yulia-v-tymoshenko.html

Putin certainly has a history of working well with Yulia--she was in prison, ostensibly, because she gave too favorable a gas deal to Russia.

And he was not particularly close to Yanukovych--in the West, the idea is that Yanuk was his puppet and that the Party of Regions was just an adjunct of United Russia or something. In fact, Yanuk quite liked being President of an independent country. He saw that Ukraine's interest could be best pursued by working the EU against Russia and leveraging benefits from both, and he tried to do just that. At the end of the day, though, Putin made an offer he couldn't refuse, and Merkel didn't, so he picked Russia.

The Party of Regions leaders like being big fishes in a small pond, rather than being Kremlin flunkies. Do they stick with Yanukovych or do they politely tell him to enjoy a nice retirement in Dubai and try to find somebody else? Do they have the political support from Moscow to continue to ignore the Kiev government or do they and Moscow both seek to make an arrangement for themselves in the new order (which is unlikely to be that different from the old one)?

There's a lot of sentiment in Russia right now about how Putin is sitting on his ass while Ukraine is falling to Nazis and Banderovtsi. Even the Russian liberals who hate Putin and sad they cannot do the same thing are very uncomfortable about what is going on in Kiev. Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Russian liberal opposition, who happens to rival Jared Taylor in how viscerally he loves white people, has gone on the record stating that he sees Ukraine as squarely within the Russian orbit and that there needs to be closer integration between the two. Can Putin afford to just make an accommodation with the new government? Does that threaten his 'man of action' image?

Anonymous said...

so is that all it takes to completely topple a government? a few HUNDRED guys, tops, who don't even have guns? just baseball bats and plywood?

As long as the military stays out of the conflict, then yes. Cops have trouble mounting a credible offensive against large groups of organized paramilitary willing to do battle. Just look at Iraq. Many of these countries use "Interior Ministry" troops as government paramilitary to fight these types of battles. If you get the regular military involved they can always do an about-face and you have a coup.

Auntie Analogue said...


Reading between the lines of all the reports I've seen and read, it would seem that many of the Ukraine's police were either disinclined, became disinclined, or were persuaded, not to withstand the rebel forces with all their might. Desertions from, and studied inaction by, a considerable proportion of members of the internal security forces may have buckled the nerve of members of the dwindling number of loyalist units. Critical enfeeblement of the security forces may have formed the sign to Yanukovich that the jig was up, that it was high time for him to skedaddle.

This is a problem which Assad in Syria has not had, as his forces are welded to him by their shared sectarian dread of what the other sects among the rebels would most certainly do not just to Assad, but also to themselves, whereas in the Ukraine, the security forces' mere sharing in small beer spoils - being always in receipt of the dregs - may not have formed sufficient motivation for many members of the internal security forces to have continued to remain loyal to the now absconded president.

Just a theory, but, I think, a plausible one.

Anonymous said...

"a panorama of waste and inexplicable taste."

Who pardoned Marc Rich?

And how many politicians does Sheldon Adelson own?

Anonymous said...

Does DC use precogs to reduce crime?

Anonymous said...

gangster paradise

now see how much obama racks up after he steps down

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would conduct such a guided tour of purported 'socialist' Tony Blair's may luxury residences.

Anyhow, is the mansion Yanuckovich's own private property or is it an 'official residence'?

Anonymous said...

Reading between the lines of all the reports I've seen and read, it would seem that many of the Ukraine's police were either disinclined, became disinclined, or were persuaded, not to withstand the rebel forces with all their might. Desertions from, and studied inaction by, a considerable proportion of members of the internal security forces may have buckled the nerve of members of the dwindling number of loyalist units. Critical enfeeblement of the security forces may have formed the sign to Yanukovich that the jig was up, that it was high time for him to skedaddle.


In many cases, individual police commanders became disgusted by Yanukovych's insistence that they neither withdraw from the area, respond to the militants' gunfire and Molotov cocktails with deadly force, or attempt to rescue captured colleagues who were being tortured in full view of the cheering crowd. So, they took their units – often made up of young conscripts – and went back to eastern and southern Ukraine.

It will be interesting to see if the US-backed militants will be able to extend their control to areas of the Ukraine where Yanukovych and Russia have more support. If not, expect the US to go into high moral dudgeon as to how, because the militants are now the “legitimate government” of Ukraine, the “rule of law” requires pro-Russian areas such as the Crimea to meekly submit to whatever the militants want.

5371 said...

King Abdullah wouldn't let his falcon live in such squalor.

Anonymous said...

The other shoe is yet to fall
That's the writing on the wall.

Anon.

Chubby Ape said...

Anonymous jody said...

so is that all it takes to completely topple a government? a few HUNDRED guys, tops, who don't even have guns? just baseball bats and plywood? ...


No the opposition had firearms. I saw video and images of hunting rifles, handguns and assault rifles being used by them in the last week.

Dan said...

When do the British people invest Buckingham palace? The Americans invest Camp David?

The utter lack of self awareness causes me to chuckle.

This was a very Ukrainian Coup. It's progress that the army was never called in.

Anonymous said...

so is that all it takes to completely topple a government? a few HUNDRED guys, tops, who don't even have guns? just baseball bats and plywood?

hell, what are we waiting for?


Maybe something as simple as a cock-up in handing out Section 8 vouchers? At least it looks like they are ready to respond with overwhelming police force in suburban Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Putin got pissed off that Ramzan Kadyrov can pacify Chechnya with nothing more than a gold plated pistol (and a few billion $) but normally placid Ukraine spun out of control even after writing a check for $15 billion.

Chicago said...

Most leaders live scandalously high on the hog, even ones from miserably poor countries the world over. That's why they become leaders except for the very few here and there who actually might believe in something. Most of it is hidden from view of the public. They all generally seem to get along quite well with each other whenever they meet, more than with the average citizen of their own country, eating and drinking the best the world has to offer. The White House itself has an army of servants such as a full time dog walker, hair dressers and makeup artists whose sole job it is to make the president's wife look fabulous, and on and on, all on the dime of the American public. It gets grander and more parasitic with each passing year.

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Why don't you review the book Black Stats.

Share These Stats About Black America With the Racist in Your Life

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/black-stats-racism-debunk

The book was written by a Black lady and, unlike the IQ theorists you concentrate on, is Mother Jones approved.

Anonymous said...

“Glory to Ukraine!” and “Glory to its heroes!”

These are greetings of fascist OUN/UPA.

Re analysis of police forece behavior, which I think is spot on, I would also add that the indecision of Yanukovytch resulted from his fear, than if he blooded his hands by removing the protesters by force, he woudl have been forever a puppet of Putin, something that he never really wanted to be.

Anonymous said...

Re Berkut forces, according to this article http://www.uriks.no/ukrainian-top-general-proof-russian-intervention-ukraine/#.Uu23YDJdV8G if given orders, they would have been able to clean the square within 3-5 hours. Please note that the article was published around 3 weeks ago, at that probably it was still possible.

Bert said...

Ukraine must have very low standards. That so-called luxury residence looks no better than a decaying Detroit home.

Anonymous said...

"Now see how much obama racks up after he steps down"

Bill Clinton: over $140 million. Plus, Hillary's gotten in one the act now and much of Clinton's lifestyle, including his massively excessive travel expenses, are funded through his foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative.

Al Gore: $200-300 million since the sale of his "TV channel."

Tony Blair: £70 million (about US$100 million)

The West is being looted, too, and we have no way to stop it. Perhaps our leaders should be required to take vows of poverty and celibacy.

Anonymous said...

So the NYT imagines that this compound was all built in the past 4 years since Yanukovych became president? What did Tymoshenko's presidential palace look like? A cardboard shack?

It's useful to compare the opulence of Yanukovych's residence to the Spartan simplicity of our own president's city residence, with its built-in swimming pool, basketball court, bowling alley and sauna, or his dacha at Camp David, with pools, bowling alleys, tennis and basketball courts, horseshoe pitch, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing trails, archery and skeet shooting facilities, golf course and driving range, gymnasium, sauna, steam room, hot tub, movie theater, ballrooms and multiple "cafes," "kitchens" and "dining facilities" (no "restaurants" here!). A tyrant lives like Yanukovych. The president of a truly democratic country lives like Obama.

officiousintermeddler said...

No zoo at Camp David, though. Just stables and a wildlife preserve.

Anonymous said...

"or something is up"

judging by the warnings coming out of EUSUK starting to look like Putin was setting them up for a partition so he keeps all the pro-Russian bits and Crimea and EUSUK gets the Galicians.

whereas EUSUK wants to lever the whole country into the EU.

go putin

Dan said...

The fellow did not roll in the tanks.

He'll live to regret not acting very quickly to bust up the protestors.

He'll swing on a rope.

Btw, I'm so over the fascism charges back n forth. The moment a government is actually used to benefit ordinary normative people/behaviour some cretin always pipes up and trashes the effort.

Anonymous said...

if given orders, they [Berkut] would have been able to clean the square within 3-5 hours

They absolutely would. They were given permission to use live bullets only on February 20th. The next day there was the "truce" and the next day it was over. Until that point, they only used rubber bullets and even that only apprehensively.

Napier said...

Meta comment about the iSteve commentariat.

Why expend so much energy trying to detect some element of Neo-nazi support in the Ukraine Coup? One doesn't have to look very far to see that this is a US backed Orange 2.0 Revolution.

The pearl clutching sensitivities and "woe is me" regurgitation of enthnocentric (and historically unreliable) folk memory is a hoot.

Anonymous said...

they would have been able to clean the square within 3-5 hours.

The problem is what happens after that. It probably would have provoked outright civil war, which is something everyone, including the military and Russian ethnics, should dread.

The Russians were pretty ham-handed in all this. They had the executive and a fairly small parliament majority and tried to stuff a return to the Russian sphere of influence based on that plus economic pressure. It would have been smarter to subvert some Ukrainian ethnics as well, and not be so blatant about it all.

roundeye said...

Most importantly, who is the architect for the golf course? Has anyone seen Ben Crenshaw or Steve Smyers in Kiev?

Jon said...

"The White House itself has an army of servants such as a full time dog walker, hair dressers and makeup artists whose sole job it is to make the president's wife look fabulous, and on and on, all on the dime of the American public. "

The White House hairdresser is a beautician, not a magician. 10x what the president earns is not enough to pay anyone who could make Moo-chelle look "fabulous".

Jefferson said...

"Ukraine must have very low standards. That so-called luxury residence looks no better than a decaying Detroit home."

Ukraine is one of the poorest Caucasoid countries in the world.

According to the Human Development Index, Ukraine is not a fully developed first world country.

Ukraine's Human Development Index is closer to that of Brasil than it is to The United States.

Whiskey said...

Putin and Yankovic (sp?) are not really good pals, given that Ukraine arrested the CEO of Ukrali in spite of direct assurances by Yankovic. [Again, sorry don't know spelling.]

Short story, a big dispute over payments by Russian parent company in the joint venture (a potash mining company) in the Ukraine. The CEO came to the Ukraine to negotiate and despite direct President to President assurances, was arrested. The CEO is reputedly close to Putin.

So, Yankovic has less Putin support than you'd think.

Also, he had only about 5,000 special security forces, kept the Army out because he feared a coup, and the police in Western Ukraine either ignored him or sided completely with the protesters. As the commenter above noted, that's different for Assad, not the least of which is that Assad like Saddam had a LOT of special security services.

The lesson of Hitler, Stalin, Assad, and Saddam is never EVER EVER allow a leader to build up a "parallel, civilian force just as well armed as the military" (to quote one Barack Hussein Obama).

Mubarak was more dependent on the Army than these guys, who prevented a buildup of a rival institution having read their Shirer and "Rise and Fall." Khadaffi had lots of special security people but ran out of money to pay them and as most were questionable mercenaries they melted away. Not being as noted above welded by sectarian fear.

Jeff W. said...

No revolution is complete until the central bank changes hands.
But for the National Bank of Ukraine, it looks like business as usual.

http://www.bank.gov.ua/control/en/

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/business/sorkin-likely-to-stay-as-nbu-head-for-now-337422.html

If the central bank continues under the same ownership, the supposed revolution can be viewed more as an entertainment spectacle than as a real transfer of power.

If there was a real threat to the ownership of the National Bank of Ukraine, I believe you would either see: 1) Nonstop atrocity stories in the press accompanied by demands for an immediate NATO strike; or 2) A surprise NATO strike without any press buildup.

neil craig said...

So much wealth these days is electronic & credit card records. The days when the French Revolutionaries simply rioted for bread, & burned down the bakeries, are long gone. Nowadays they want international recognition leading to access to the previous regime's Swiss bank accounts.