February 23, 2014

What just happened?

When something big happens, it's useful to read articles carefully for details before a Narrative hardens.

The following article from the New York Times is a little hard to follow because it tries to tie together several Ukrainian threads with a lot of taunting of overthrown president Yanukovych for being a L-O-S-E-R. But it sure sounds like the key event in the Ukraine last week was the "seizing of an Interior Ministry armory in the western city of Lviv and the transportation of those weapons to the outskirts of Kiev, the capital."
As His Fortunes Fell in Ukraine, a President Clung to Illusions 
By ANDREW HIGGINS and STEVEN ERLANGER FEB. 23, 2014
KIEV, Ukraine — As his allies deserted him and throngs of people bayed for his blood almost within earshot of his office, President Viktor F. Yanukovych took time out on Friday to celebrate Ukraine’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. In a message of congratulations to the women’s biathlon relay team, he praised its “power and will to win.” 
Shortly before issuing that message, Mr. Yanukovych, still driven by a “will to win” of his own that many others in his crumbling administration had abandoned, signed an agreement with three opposition leaders that he hoped would keep him in power until December, and perhaps longer. 
“He was fighting hard to preserve whatever he could and yield the least,” said Radoslaw Sikorski, the foreign minister of Poland, who spent hours with Mr. Yanukovych as part of a team of European diplomats who mediated the accord. 
“His big miscalculation, as always, was to leave things too late. Timing is everything.” 
By late Friday afternoon, Mr. Yanukovych’s time had run out. Between the signing ceremony for the peace deal, held at the vast, colonnaded building that houses Ukraine’s presidential administration, and his break for Olympic cheerleading, the president’s prospects had taken a drastic turn for the worse: Hundreds of riot police officers guarding the presidential compound and nearby government buildings had vanished. 
“It was astonishing,” said Mr. Sikorski, who, while leaving the presidential building, watched in dismay as police officers jumped into buses and drove off. “That was not part of the deal. Astonishing.” 
The departure of the police had been days in the making, a result of a sequence of events that began late on Wednesday with the seizing of an Interior Ministry armory in the western city of Lviv and the transportation of those weapons to the outskirts of Kiev, the capital. Violent clashes on Thursday, which left more than 80 protesters and many police officers dead, enraged the opposition and sapped the will of Mr. Yanukovych’s enforcers, if not Mr. Yanukovych himself. 
By the end of Friday, the deal that Mr. Yanukovych had believed would win him at least a few more months in office was dead, discarded the moment enraged protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square learned of it. But Mr. Yanukovych was on a plane to the eastern city of Kharkiv, a planned trip that he still appeared to believe would be just another official visit in his four-year-old presidency. 
The political crisis erupted in November after Mr. Yanukovych rejected, at the last minute, a trade deal with the European Union that he had been promising to sign for months. Throughout, the president displayed an almost delusional disregard of the forces gathering against him, along with a misplaced trust in his supporters’ loyalty and determination to defend him. 
“He was living in an illusion right to the end,” said a Ukrainian politician close to the president’s entourage who asked not to be named because, like many in Mr. Yanukovych’s camp, he feared attracting unwelcome attention. “He did not believe it was over.” 
Like Nicolae Ceausescu — the brutal and sinister Romanian leader who, even after being taken captive in December 1989, continued to believe that he would prevail — Mr. Yanukovych seemed to persevere in the belief that he could hold on. After misjudging the mood on the street time and time again, he was simply overtaken by reality. 
... He went on to declare that he had not resigned and had no intention of doing so, denouncing “traitors” in his own camp and dismissing protesters as hooligans and vandals who had staged a coup. Recalling that he had bounced back from trouble before and rebuilt his political power base, the Party of Regions, after the tumult of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, he vowed to stay in the country and make a public report every day on what he was doing to re-establish his position as president. 
Mr. Yanukovych has not been heard from since. ... 
The events that led to his ouster accelerated early last week after a month of relative calm. On Tuesday, empowered by a new aid package from Russia announced the day before, Mr. Yanukovych pressed to remove an encampment of antigovernment activists from Independence Square, where they had been cursing his government since November. 
Squads of riot police overpowered the outer ring of defenses protesters had set up and advanced to within 25 yards of a stage in the center of the square, called the Maidan. 
Running out of options, the protesters mounted a final, desperate defense, a so-called ring of fire stoked with tires, firewood and even their own sleeping bags and pads. 
But Andrei Levus, deputy head of the Maidan “self-defense” forces, the umbrella organization of militant activists fighting the government, knew he had reinforcements on the way. Protesters in Lviv had overrun an Interior Ministry garrison and were en route to Kiev with the captured military weapons. 

In most countries, the Interior Ministry isn't a semi-comic bureaucracy in charge of forest rangers, it's the Clampdown. Moreover, in the Soviet Union, the Ministry of the Interior had its own 200,000 man army that could be used to put down a military coup. So, the Interior presumably has some fairly heavy duty weapons. (Of course, these days, practically every government agency in the U.S. seems to have its own Kevlar-vested automatic weapon-armed quasi-military.)
“I’m reluctant to talk about this because we are protesters and not illegal armed groups,” Mr. Levus said. “But the square was about to look different. There would be more people, and they would not have had empty hands.” 
Despite the dwindling of the protective fires, the protesters decided to hold on to the square long enough for both sides to consider the significance of the arrival of the weapons in the capital
Using a member of Parliament as an intermediary, Mr. Levus opened a line of communication with a deputy interior minister, whom he declined to name. It appeared that Mr. Yanukovych, perhaps sensing that his security forces were reluctant to press the crackdown, was inclined to turn to the army for help. He had fired the armed forces chief of staff, Col. Gen. Volodymyr Zamana, on Monday. 

Ukraine's army is about 60% conscript, although the draft was ended by Yanukovych last October.
“We understood they had a few hundred fanatical riot police, but the rest of the police would not fight,” Mr. Levus said.  

These days it's getting harder and harder to find thousands of guys willing to fight old-style battles, in part because modern guns are just too scary. (That was John Mueller's discovery about the Balkans wars of the 1990s -- there was so much draft dodging that much of the actual fighting was outsourced to prison gangs and soccer hooligans: men who like violence for the sake of violence.) So, who has more hundreds of ultras willing to fight and die matters.
Several street fighters who were on the barricades early Thursday morning said that they saw police officers walking away from their positions, and that this emboldened them. Some protesters fired hunting rifles and shotguns. Police lines crumpled. 
“Our people are ideologically motivated, and on the contrary, they were demoralized,” Mr. Levus said. “They did not want this fight. And he understood that our people were ready to run against gunfire.” 
Mr. Levus said he received a call on his cellphone around noon on Thursday from the deputy interior minister. “I told him, ‘We will guarantee the safety of the police if they leave the city,’ ” he said. ...

The timeline in the article is vague, but I suspect this followed a skirmish in the preceding hours in which the fighters regained their lost turf, at the cost of several dozen dead. Most of the dead have been attributed to pro-government "snipers" -- i.e., not machine guns.
Mr. Yanukovych, for his part, had begun discussions with the European mediators. According to Mr. Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, the president was digging in his heels, telling the French, German and Polish diplomats that he was not to blame for the crisis and refusing even to consider setting a date for an early election. 
Mr. Sikorski said he told Mr. Yanukovych that the only way to sell a deal to the opposition was to specify when a new presidential election would be held. “You need to declare on what date you’ll resign,” he said he told the president. 
Mr. Yanukovych “went white,” Mr. Sikorski said. But the deadlock lifted after the Ukrainian leader received a phone call shortly afterward from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “He came back, he was agreeing to limit his time in office,” Mr. Sikorski said. “That made everything possible.” ...
When the protesters in Independence Square heard the details of the deal, they made clear it was a nonstarter. Furious that Mr. Yanukovych would be allowed to stay in office until December, the crowd chanted, “Out, bandits,” and “Death to the criminal.” 
Volodymyr Parasiuk, a leader of one of the fighting units, took to the stage and announced that his men would begin armed attacks if Mr. Yanukovych had not resigned by morning. 
By dawn, well-organized groups of protesters armed with clubs and shields, but not guns, were already swarming toward Mr. Yanukovych’s offices, the Cabinet of Ministers building (the headquarters of the government) and Parliament. With the police forces gone, they met no resistance. 
         
So, my guess about what happened is that the streetfighters' display of a willingness to die in winning a small arms battle largely before their threatened deployment of the looted military weapons demoralized the elected government's defenders, who walked away rather than have the weaponry escalate.

But, that's mostly surmise on my part.
 

74 comments:

David said...

Guns do make a difference.

Anonymous said...

If this is true Yanukovych deserves a nobel peace prize.

Anonymous said...

the streetfighters' display of a willingness to die in a small arms battle largely before their deployment of the looted military weapons demoralized the elected government's defenders

"Elected government." You neocons would be happy if militant westernized hooligans overthrew Iran's elected government.

Dave Pinsen said...

They mention Ceausescu, and as I recall, the key thing there was that the army sided with the people against the government. It sounds like something similar happened in Ukraine (or, at least, the army didn't back up the government).

There's a lot of talk in the US about the right to keep and bear arms as a check against tyranny, but perhaps a bigger check is a conscript army (one no larger than necessary) that's stationed close to home. Conscript armies include reluctant soldiers, and they tend to be less willing to open fire on their neighbors and relatives in situations like these.

Anonymous said...

The only people who seem "brutal and sinister" in all this are the rebels, who did, after all, violently overthrow a fairly elected government.

Anonymous said...

Steve, earlier you wrote that these brave guys who brought down the government are going to be replaced by the bankers and politicos. But if so, what would stop them from getting weapons in the future? Presumably they would be able to raid armories, especially in the Western part of Ukraine. And why would the security forces fight for the bankers and politicos, when they did not fight for Yanukovych? If these ruffians take to the streets again, who is going to stop them?

Anonymous said...

Yanukovych was soft-hearted. He should have broken up the Maidan immediately. He could have brought in volunteers from the east and distributed arms to them. He could have asked Moscow to quietly send some thugs his way. In fact, the Berkut forces already in Kiev could likely have broken the Maidan if they were ordered to use live ammo as soon as their first comrades started getting killed.

He forgot Machiavelli's cardinal rule that it is better to be feared than loved.

Anonymous said...

The only people who seem "brutal and sinister" in all this are the rebels, who did, after all, violently overthrow a fairly elected government.

Let's not get carried away here. The government was thuggish and brutal itself, and at some point even elected governments that are thuggish and brutal enough deserve to take a plane flight to exile.

Arnold Willis said...

"The only people who seem "brutal and sinister" in all this are the rebels, who did, after all, violently overthrow a fairly elected government."

Because as everyone knows, elected politicians never lie to get elected, never abuse their power or betray their citizens when in office. Being elected, even "fairly," doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want.

Arnold Willis said...

The EU and IF are now pushing for economic "reforms" and closer integration with the EU in exchange for a bailout. Ukraine's going from the frying pan to the fire. This victory for nationalism is quite temporay, indeed.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1968_in_France#De_Gaulle_leaves

Anonymous said...

"Let's not get carried away here. The government was thuggish and brutal itself..."

Not true. Most of the world's governments, including the US government, would have shot up any organized group trying to overthrow them. They would have opened fire, and they would have kept it "open" until the job was done. By failing to do this Yanukovich's government showed itself to have been one of the least brutal on the planet. That's why he lost. Brutality pays.

Felix said...

Steve, earlier you wrote that these brave guys who brought down the government are going to be replaced by the bankers and politicos. But if so, what would stop them from getting weapons in the future? Presumably they would be able to raid armories, especially in the Western part of Ukraine. And why would the security forces fight for the bankers and politicos, when they did not fight for Yanukovych? If these ruffians take to the streets again, who is going to stop them?

Obviously, forces controlled by bankers and neocons will be much less restrained in their use of firepower against marauding slavs than Yanukovich just was. One thing is certain: even if the slavic security forces refuse to brutalize their countrymen you will see "western" troops on the ground long before neoconnery and banksterism voluntarily give up control of the Ukraine.

Daniel said...

>>>Let's not get carried away here. The government was thuggish and brutal itself, and at some point even elected governments that are thuggish and brutal enough deserve to take a plane flight to exile.

Yeah, but the U.S. has predicated its entire foreign policy of the past 13 years on the premise that elections are necessary and sufficient for all that ails. So its going to be elections when the results are favorable to our view and coups when they are not.

Anonymous said...

Because as everyone knows, elected politicians never lie to get elected, never abuse their power or betray their citizens when in office. Being elected, even "fairly," doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want.


You cannot be serious.

Every president the US has ever had could have been violently ejected from office before his term was up using that line of thinking. In fact being fairly elected does give you the right to do pretty much what you like, within limits. And Yanukovych did not do anything outside those limits.

If you don't like politicians you vote against them. That's the civic bargain we all have with each other. The alternative is an endless civil war.

Anonymous said...

Yanukovish was corrupt in the sense of being a tool of the Ukrainian oligarchs. Ukraine now is what Russia would have been like if Putin didn't come along and didn't take political power away from Russia's oligarchs.

But no, Yanukovich wasn't brutal. That's why he's gone. And during the Wall St. bailout both Bush II and Obama showed themselves to be the tools of US oligarchs, i.e. of Wall St.

Can you imagine what they, or any US president would have done if a crowd of Right Sector-type guys (the US equivalent would be StormFront, I guess) tried to violently overthrow them?

eah said...

I'm not sure what just happened either.

But I can better imagine what might be about to happen:

Ukraine steht vor dem Staatsbankrott

Laut Übergangspräsident Alexander Turtschinow steht das Land am Rande der Pleite: "Die Ukraine ist dabei, in den Abgrund zu rutschen, sie befindet sich am Rande einer Zahlungsunfähigkeit".

The new president says the Ukraine is broke. Of course it's all the fault of the former government. Big surprise. So I guess co-hosting Euro 2012 didn't bring much benefit after all. One wonders what will happen in Brazil after the World Cup later this year...

But never fear: Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stellte dem Land Unterstützung in Aussicht: "Eine Ukraine, die bankrott geht, die zahlungsunfähig wird, wird eine zu große Belastung sowohl für den großen Nachbarn im Osten wie für die Europäische Union", sagte der SPD-Politiker am Sonntag in der ZDF-Sendung "Berlin direkt".

So the German foreign minister says Germans - among others - will ante up.

An interesting study last year got very little attention (for obvious reasons): measured by household net worth, Germans are actually poorer than several of the countries they are being asked to bail out.

I have no idea why that might be, either.

Anonymous said...

Steve, get this: good old Zbig is saying in FT that the solution for Ukraine is simply to be like Finland!
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e855408c-9bf6-11e3-afe3-00144feab7de.html#axzz2uCNahDFj

See how easy it is? Problem solved!

Anonymous said...

@eah: well, the link makes it pretty clear the main variables are how common homeownership is and how expensive real estate is. Some relatively poor countries have little housing stock (because they're not very good at doing things like maintaining adequate housing stock) and a lot of homeownership for various historical or cultural reasons. In Russia and some former Warsaw Pact countries, homeownership is nearly universal because the state owned all the housing stock, then just gave everybody the title to the home that they lived in when "capitalism" came.

Real estate prices don't really reflect living standards. I imagine Berlin denizens live better than those of Bombay, but Bombay is by far the more expensive city.

TGGP said...

I think I first came across that conception of an "Interior" ministry in Adam Cadre's "Varicella". Varicella is latin for chickenpox, an unpleasant but generally survivable affliction. The interior minister is named Variola Modo, after the latin for smallpox. And since Primo Varicella is a ruthless sociopath out to murder every possible rival, the name hints at how much worse Variola is.

Peter the Shark said...

What basically seems to have happened in Ukraine is that the Western Ukrainian nationalists took advantage of the power vacuum and staged a coup. That doesn't bode well for the longer term future of Ukraine as a nation in its current form. Russian nationalists in Crimea, Kharkov and Donetsk will probably stage some sort of counter offensive soon, but without Yanukovych, who is now toast.

Anonymous said...

The EU and IF are now pushing for economic "reforms" and closer integration with the EU in exchange for a bailout. Ukraine's going from the frying pan to the fire. This victory for nationalism is quite temporay, indeed.

From the UK's Independent comes this quote that suggests the Right Sector has no plans on acquiescing to the EU.

It was Mr Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the first step of a membership process to the European Union in November which triggered the uprising. But the Right Sector, unlike many of the other protest groups, does not support joining. “We do not see why we should replace the Soviet Union with the European Union”, said Mr Bandarenko. The agreement last Friday, between the government and main opposition parties, “failed because it was imposed on us by EU foreign ministers. The current political system is rotten; we shall replace it.”

That is encouraging. I hope if the new government tries to go with the EU, the Right Sector will give them as much hell as they did Yanukovych,

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Yanuckovich - who after all is the democratically elected president of Ukraine and therefore *has* legitmacy, unlike the rebels - fled not as an act of cowardice, but as an act of humanity.
These crises in their initail stages are like forest fires after a drought - a small tinder fire can exponetially increase a million fold in minutes. Yanuckovich knows this, he could have played the part of the hardman and destroyed the protestors - and would have a certain legitimacy for doing so, as he is the lawful president - but deliberately held back in order to save life and avert a catastrophe.

He shouldn't be mocked for this - he should be praised.

Anonymous said...

As a Briton, I find the EU meddling in Ukraine not only perplexing but insane.

Basically, the EU is a federalist superstate wannabe. Its ultimate ambition - although the political class lies, lies and lies about it, is to create a single European state, with formerly sovereign nations as mere provinces of that state.
So in essence the UK is being dragged into an intense territorial war - which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with UK interests and history -
with Russia, over Russia seeking power over what it regards as a renegade province.

This is madness. There is no British interest here - but a tremendous possible liability - involving nuclear weapons.

Anonymous said...

During the English 'diversity' riots of 2012, David Cameron came within an ace of using the army and possibly live rounds, on the streets of England in order to preserve law and order.

Does anyone seriously question Cameron's authority to do this?

ATBOTL said...

Notice the protests were not for anyone, but against Yanukovych, lead by supporters of "far right" nationalists and would only listen to Klitschko, but now some stooge from the other corrupt mafia that controls Ukraine has been placed in power. Do we ever learn?

Simon in London said...

"In most countries, the Interior Ministry isn't a semi-comic bureaucracy in charge of forest rangers, it's the Clampdown"

Britain is a bit odd; the Home Office is our Interior Ministry, but it does not directly control paramilitary forces; instead the only significant armed police forces fall under the London Metropolitan Police.
I think this can sometimes have bad effects, eg at the start of the Northern Ireland insurgency the British central government had only (a) civilian police and (b) military combat units. They sent the latter, which led to Bloody Sunday and helped energise the IRA. Trained paramilitary police might be less likely than soldiers to kill lots of people.

Anonymous said...

When Ted Heath took Britain into the old EEC way back in 1973, it was purely an association of western European states, rather developed and wealthy Western European states and the notion of such an entity as 'Ukraine' ever joining was fantasy beyond fantasy. British accession to the EEC was confirmed by a referendum in 1975. If the voters of those days could ever conceive of the present remit and territorial aggression of the EU in meddling with a nuclear superpower, would they have been so keen to surrender UK independence?

Anonymous said...

I think the question is:

1) what does USUK want?
2) what does EUSUK want?
3) what does Putin want?

I think the people running USUK simply want to give all the top political jobs and all the country looting rights to their cousins.

I think EUSUK is a monster that wants to swallow the whole of Ukraine as another province of EUSUK.

If I was Putin I'd want East Ukraine and the Crimea back as part of Russia and continued Black Sea access for the Russian navy.

Anonymous said...

Daniel said.
> So its going to be elections when the results are favorable to our view and coups when they are not.

Elected governments need to have the support of majority/plurality of electorate and must not have the lethal ire of enough people to actually kill them. The first part is constitutional law, second part is physical law. Hence the second part is more important than the first. Ask Ceausescu, Shah, Najibullah or Qadhdhaafie.

Anonymous said...

Steve, your Ukraine postings are just another example of why you are an intellectual laxative for a constipated society.

Anonymous said...

A foreigner elected to office largely by foreign migrants brought in by an anti-democratic elite is violently overthrown. That's a fact pattern that should warm any American's heart.

leftist conservative said...

this entire ukrainian crisis is primarily about separatism.

The ukrainian speaking half of Ukraine wants its own nation, to be separate from the russian speaking half of ukraine.

CorpGovMedia is not focusing on this issue of separatism. However National Security Advisor Susan Rice has said that ukraine does not have to split up.

What a surprise. CorpGovMedia is mostly hiding the fact that crisis is about secession, and when the elites finally do admit that fact, they come down on the side against separatism.

The elites always want to keep nations as large as possible.

Why?

I have been saying this for years, and no one listens me. But I will say it again: the elites want as many factions in every nation as possible. Factions kill democracy. The elites want little democracy. The people want lots of democracy. The people want to be with other people like themselves. That is the cradle of democracy--sameness. Homogeneity.

Lack of sameness, heterogeneity, lowers democracy.

The elite want to control the governments. So they like heterogeneity. You may have noticed that here in the USA the elite love multiculturalism and cram it down young white throats in school with an avid ferocity.

The people want to control the gov't. The elite want that control.

The interests of the people and of the elite are opposed.

The elite use factions to keep the people from controlling the gov't.

The elite use factions this way and have been doing so for centuries.

The elite of america over 200 years ago discarded the highly democratic articles of confederation and replaced them with the undemocratic constitution.
The constitution created factions by enlarging the political districts. The rebels in ukraine want to decrease the size of political districts.

The elite everywhere want to keep the ukrainian political districts large. They know that with large political districts they have better control of the gov't and can thus increase corporate profits.

The elite are doing the same thing --faction creation-- in western europe using the EU to create factions and steal democracy.
Enlargement of political districts creates factions-- heterogeneity-- and lowers democracy, allowing increased elite control of the gov't.


leftist conservative said...

Anonymous said...

As a Briton, I find the EU meddling in Ukraine not only perplexing but insane.

Basically, the EU is a federalist superstate wannabe.

=====================

yes, but WHO wants the EU a federalist superstate? The citizens, the ordinary working class western european? No.

The elite want it so. Why? Because enlarging political districts creates factions and that lowers democracy. That makes it hard for the majority to control each european nation and thus allows more elite control, which increases corporate profits.

Money. Always follow the money.





Dan said...

Eerily similar to the more accurate accounts of the sacking of the Bastille. Disorganized ragged shots exchanged for a day. Milling around aimlessly. Bing bang boom, the head of the governor on the prison is sawn off by mob after the guards decide they ain't taking a bullet for six forgers and the Marquis De Sade's sake.

It is a confusion.

Big Bill said...

You miss the obvious parallel: John Brown and Harper's Ferry.

Unlike the Ukraine, the garrison at Harper's Ferry won the fight.

Anonymous said...

"In most countries, the Interior Ministry isn't a semi-comic bureaucracy in charge of forest rangers, it's the Clampdown. "

The Department of Homeland Security has all the functions of a European Dept of the Interior.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Elected government." You neocons would be happy if militant westernized hooligans overthrew Iran's elected government."

Steve Sailer is not a neo-con.

Anonymous said...

Michael Corleone: I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren't.
Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?
Michael Corleone: They could win.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the long game, perhaps it will be China that ultimately benefits here.

The grand financial f*ck up, that more or less crippled the west didn't really affect China at all. China grew and grew and grew - and still grows. Now that the EU has seriously pissed off Russia, you can envisage Russia making sweetheart deals for oil, gas, minerals etc with China and more or less by-passing the EU. China gets the raw materials it needs to fuel its stratospheric growth, Russia gets dollops of hard cash.
As for the EU - well basically it ha stagnated for the past 30 or 40 years, economically speaking gone nowhere and done nothing, and you can rely on it to do the same for the next 30 -4 40 years. The pig-headed dummkopfs who run it know other tune, apart from massive, uncontrolled third world immigration, that is. EU couples don't bother to reproduce themselves, as they see no future for themselves or any potential offspring. Sooner or later, the point of no return will be reached in which the eurocrats, with their deflationary, stagnationist fetish, will kill off the notion of a Europe peopled by Europeans for good. Don't wory, they've got legions of Pakisatnis and Nigerians they want to let in to just dying to replace you. Paging Cecilia Malmstrom.

In fact in terms of pig-headedness, stupidity and destruction of human life, the eurocrats greatly outscore the much mocked and despised generals of WW1. Incidentally how apt that on the eve of the 100th anniversary of that war we are seeing the same big power empire building politics, leavened by the 'rights' of small nations that lead to that disaster in the first place. And yet people said a re-run was 'impossible'.

England must vote UKIP and leave the EU now.

Hunsdon said...

I had originally mentioned this idea in connection with the Arab Spring, but I think it's equally applicable here.

Western leaders who foment revolutions and revolts seem to think that Western educated, secular moderates will be the ones who sweep to power in the event of a successful regime change. That's nonsense.

When Western educated, secular moderates hear the sound of gunfire in the streets, they hit their knees and pray (to God, G-d, Allah or Malik Taus) that the violence will pass them by. That's not a recipe for sweeping to power.

The people who come to power are the people who are willing to pick up their rifles (and baseball bats) and trot to the sound of the guns, people who don't particularly mind killing police: hard brutal hillbillies and soccer hooligans.

I.e., Right Sector/Правйи Сектор.

Hunsdon said...

Come for the sociopolitical observations, stay for the Clash links!

Anonymous said...

Since, on average, it takes almost two Ukrainian couples to produce one male heir, general fighting was, and hopefully will continue to be necessarily limited. If European demography in 1914 was similar to that of Ukraine today, the war would have been over in a month or two with hardly any fighting at all outside of capital cities. My prediction is any new government will award generous pensions to the wives of both the dead rebels and the wives of the dead security forces.

Anonymous said...

From the experts at Wikipedia Liviv

Many Poles moved to Lviv after the city was conquered by King Casimir in 1349. It became a major Polish cultural centre and this continued after the partitions of Poland.

Lviv was depolonised mainly through Soviet-arranged population exchange from 1944–46.[75] Those that remained found themselves having lost their state status and becoming an ethnic minority. By 1959 Poles made up only 4% of the population after Ukrainians, Russians and Jews.[75] The Polish population underwent significant assimilation; in 1989 40% considered Ukrainian as their mother tongue, 15% Russian.[75] During Soviet times two Polish schools continued to function: № 10 (with 8 grades) and № 24 (with 10 grades).[75]

In the 1980s the process of uniting groups into ethnic associations was allowed. In 1988 a Polish language newspaper was allowed («Gazeta Lwowska»).[76] The Polish population of the city continues to use the dialect of the Polish language known as Lwów dialect (Polish: gwara lwowska).[76]

The NY Times article misses the point. Russia was willing to write a $15 billion check, and likely more after that. What exactly is USA-EU going to do? As the great General once said, you break it you bought it.

Anonymous said...

It's my guess that happenings in Ukraine have less to do with factors inside Ukraine than with moves in a few squares on the upper left side of The Great Game checkerboard.

Piper said...

Steve's observation, that people with guns have more influence on government, has not been lost on Ukrainians: behold the new Official Statement of the Ukrainian Gun Owners' Association.

And notice what Ukrainian gun owners read about: California civilian police training in military uniforms with airsoft assault rifles, showing that the US government is not planning to let protestors occupy any city centers.

Anonymous said...

When Ted Heath took Britain into the old EEC way back in 1973, it was purely an association of western European states . . . If the voters of those days...

Traitor Heath knew what the deal was all along and admitted it later. Thus we know the whole thing was pulled off under false pretenses and very likely the voters wouldnt have gone with it.

The story of the EU is full of these lies. The naysayers claim A will lead to B, the EU cheerleaders deny it and then proceed to move onto B and then act as if we all knew that was the deal all along. We are now well down the road of X, Y and Z.

Anonymous said...

During the English 'diversity' riots of 2012, David Cameron came within an ace of using the army and possibly live rounds, on the streets of England in order to preserve law and order.

But that would have meant shooting a lot of black people, so it couldnt happen. If whites had been more accommodating and put themselves in the firing line OTOH....

Mr Drab said...

What can the near-bankrupt EU offer Ukraine other than false hope?

As the Spectator UK's John Laughland writes:

Thanks to decades of corrupt politics, the Ukrainian state is bankrupt. So is the EU. In spite of stringing Kiev along with pretty words about a European future, the EU could offer only $800 million, via the IMF, and that came at the price of exceptionally painfully economic reforms. Ukraine would have been subjected to the same devastation of its agriculture, on which it depends, as Romania and Bulgaria were in their pre-accession period. Its industry would have collapsed as well. Russia, by contrast, has been able to offer nearly 20 times this sum in loans to prevent Ukraine from becoming insolvent, and it is the biggest market for Ukrainian exports – bigger than the whole of the EU put together. Moreover, Europe’s coffers are empty for good reason: her member states are drowning in their own debt, while the economic vice turned on its own member states – Greece, Spain and others – has plunged those countries into misery. Russia, by contrast, has tended to run balanced budgets while her growth ticks along at 4% or so, against Europe’s anaemic 1%. Trade in the Customs Union has grown by 40% in 5 years. Ukraine’s signature on the EU association agreement (the one Georgia signed runs to 400 pages) would have been the longest suicide note in history.

Ukraine will lurch toward Europe only to find that EU membership is a pipe dream and that the EU, led by a strained and wary Germany, has no appetite to bail out a poor, endemically corrupt Slavic country the size of France.

I thought the failure of the so-called "Orange Revolution" would have put to rest Ukraine's Western delusions.

Veracitor said...

Yanukovich's predicament reminds me not so much of Ceaucescu as Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi. The Shah had a chance to clear the streets of Tehran with a few machine-gun bursts but he quailed, held back his Interior Ministry forces, and finally fled the country. He spared Iran a small amount of bloodshed for a brief time-- he gave control to the mullahs and they gave Iran a massive internal repression plus the Iran-Iraq War which cost around 150,000 Iranian lives.

NB: I don't say Yanukovich is/was a "good guy," only that rulers who stall too long in the face of mob action are liable to lose their jobs.

Recall that back in 1992, when then President George Bush the elder saw how ineffective the LAPD was against the Rodney King rioters, he sent US Marines as well as US Border Patrol ("Interior Ministry") troops to Los Angeles, likely in violation of the US Constitution,* even though the rioters had no political ambitions. Bush was getting ready to machine-gun rioters if the trouble continued. It never came to that because the all-underclass rioters, confined to the central city by armed middle-class suburbanites, ran out of shops to loot and grew fatigued after a few days of heavy drinking and late nights so they went home before testing Bush's resolve.

*US Constitution Art. IV, Section 4 says Federal troops may be used against "domestic violence" only when requested by a State legislature (or Governor when the legislature is unavailable). As I noted at the time, and so far as I can confirm from the Legislative records, the California Legislature--which was in active session in Sacramento during the Rodney King riots--never requested Federal assistance. Bush could have been impeached for his flagrant misuse of Federal forces, except that Congress has long since abdicated all responsibility.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

We see, once again, that violence works.

(Of course, these days, practically every government agency in the U.S. seems to have its own Kevlar-vested automatic weapon-armed quasi-military.)

Even Irvine here in Orange County, supposedly "America's Safest City," has its own armored SWAT truck.

Evidently the Irvine authorities are expecting serious trouble from all of those Asian, Indian, and Persian immigrants the city keeps attracting.

Anonymous said...

The Ukraine is, based on what I have seen, a very corrupt country, and both sides engage in that corruption.

I suspect this has more to do with the desire by some in the US to dislodge Russia as Europe's supplier of natural gas by making the Ukraine very unstable.

Anonymous said...

Are the Right Sector thugs going to go into the ministry of finance and start going over spreadsheets? Are they going to go the the ministry of health and start learning the details of hospital construction? Of course they're not going to fill the vacuum of power because they're not interested in doing that. They're interested in sticking it to the "Moskali".

I imagine Yulia is going to face the problem of a lot of rowdy young men with a lot of looted weaponry. She'll incorporate the more pliant ones into her security services and set the rest against their former comrades, who will find themselves bereft of funding or support among a population that will be craving stability. And she's going to be far less measured than Yanukovych was, as both Russia and the West will turn a blind eye to any abuses in dealing with the Banderovtsi.

Bill said...


Steve said . . .
These days it's getting harder and harder to find thousands of guys willing to fight old-style battles, in part because modern guns are just too scary.

I don't know why it is getting harder, but this seems not to be the reason. Scarier than poison gas? Scarier than wounds from a gladius or a pike? Scarier than flamethrowers? Scarier than white phosphorus?

Guns are just about the least scary weapons of war ever.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should do a comprehensive study of what variables are most important in the success/failure of popular uprisings. I suspect it is failure to swiftly disperse them with force before they get too big. But obviously, there are cases where use of force contributed to the collapse of the regime, as with Ceucesceu, by inflaming passions.

Bill said...


Veracitor said...
Yanukovich's predicament reminds me not so much of Ceaucescu as Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi. The Shah had a chance to clear the streets of Tehran with a few machine-gun bursts but he quailed, held back his Interior Ministry forces, and finally fled the country. He spared Iran a small amount of bloodshed for a brief time-- he gave control to the mullahs and they gave Iran a massive internal repression plus the Iran-Iraq War which cost around 150,000 Iranian lives.

Huh. In my universe, Iraq started the Iran-Iraq War. And, like, the Shah was definitely into the whole murder, torture, mass involuntary internal migration thing, right? I don't know whether he was worse than the current Iranian government, but it's not obvious he was better.

Bill said...

The problem with articles like this is that they don't deal with the important questions---largely because we are ignorant about the important questions.

Did Yanukovych ask the military to clear the square or not? Did the military refuse? As to both questions, why or why not? The revolution was won by those decisions, not by the guys with the wooden shields. Essentially any military could have cleared away the guys with the wooden shields. And AK47s would not magically make them an effective fighting force.

As was mentioned upthread, the key to the various anti-Communist revolutions of Eastern Europe in 1956, 1968, and then in the early 1990s was the refusal of the various militaries to clear away the various revolutionaries or the refusal of politicians to order the militaries to do this.

Anonymous said...

The ukrainian speaking half of Ukraine wants its own nation, to be separate from the russian speaking half of ukraine.

Galicia is only about 10% of Ukraine. And it wants to force ALL of Ukraine to adopt its language, culture and view of local history. That includes the Crimean peninsula which got into Ukraine by accident. I think that a fair solution would be for Galicia to become an independent state and for Russia to take the rest of Ukraine back. This could be done through a series of referendums. Galician nationalists do NOT want this, however.

Since, on average, it takes almost two Ukrainian couples to produce one male heir...

The wetsernmost 10% of the Ukraine is an exception. It's rural and religious, so its TFR is slightly above 2.0. I'm only aware of two white Christian groups that beat that - the Amish and white Mormons.

"What a surprise. CorpGovMedia is mostly hiding the fact that crisis is about secession, and when the elites finally do admit that fact, they come down on the side against separatism."

Russia is the biggest and most powerful state in the region, and the neocons hate the direction into which Putin has taken it. If the Ukraine is partitioned, Russia would be strengthened (it would get a piece) and the crisis might be defused. The neocons hate that scenario. They want their enemies to be as divided and as hostile to each other as possible, à la Middle East. The alternative is facing one big enemy. So of course they don't want Russia to grow.

Seamus said...

Because as everyone knows, elected politicians never lie to get elected, never abuse their power or betray their citizens when in office. Being elected, even "fairly," doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want.

Among the things you apparently aren't allowed to do, even if you are democratically elected, is decline to join the European Union. And if you do so decline, you had just better be prepared to have your public spaces illegally occupied by rebels who are willing to use violence to get their way.

Anonymous said...

"Did Yanukovych ask the military to clear the square or not? Did the military refuse?"

From what I understand, he did not ask them to clear the square. I don't think the Berkut guys would have refused such an order. In the preceding weeks they had been stricken, taunted, stuff had been thrown at them. If they didn't hate the demonstrators in the beginning, they hated them by the end. I don't know why Yanukovich didn't order Berkut to disperse the demonstrators.

Anonymous said...

"Did Cameron have the authority to do this"?

I can remember when the English army would be deployed abroad to fight England's enemies. Now thnaks to diversity and Labour, they are on the streets of England.

Anonymous said...

veracitor:"Recall that back in 1992, when then President George Bush the elder saw how ineffective the LAPD was against the Rodney King rioters, he sent US Marines as well as US Border Patrol ("Interior Ministry") troops to Los Angeles, likely in violation of the US Constitution,* even though the rioters had no political ambitions. Bush was getting ready to machine-gun rioters if the trouble continued. It never came to that because the all-underclass rioters, confined to the central city by armed middle-class suburbanites, ran out of shops to loot and grew fatigued after a few days of heavy drinking and late nights so they went home before testing Bush's resolve.

*US Constitution Art. IV, Section 4 says Federal troops may be used against "domestic violence" only when requested by a State legislature (or Governor when the legislature is unavailable). As I noted at the time, and so far as I can confirm from the Legislative records, the California Legislature--which was in active session in Sacramento during the Rodney King riots--never requested Federal assistance. Bush could have been impeached for his flagrant misuse of Federal forces, except that Congress has long since abdicated all responsibility."

WIKIPEDIA article on posse comitatus says that Bush acted according to the Insurrection Act:

"There are a number of situations in which the Act does not apply. These include:
National Guard units and state defense forces while under the authority of the governor of a state;
Troops used under the order of the President of the United States pursuant to the Insurrection Act, as was the case during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if civilian law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threats involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a nuclear or radiological weapon. Such assistance may be by any personnel under the authority of the Department of Defense, provided such assistance does not adversely affect U.S. military preparedness. The only exemption is nuclear materials.
Support roles under the Joint Special Operations Command"

WIKIPEDIA also says that Gov. Wilson asked for Federal assistance:

"The third day was punctuated by live footage of Rodney King at an impromptu news conference in front of his lawyer's Los Angeles offices on Wilshire & Doheny, tearfully saying, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"[37][38] That morning, at 1:00 am, California Governor Pete Wilson had requested federal assistance, but it was not ready until Saturday, by which time the rioting and looting was under control."

Veracitor said...

Bill wrote:

Huh. In my universe, Iraq started the Iran-Iraq War. And, like, the Shah was definitely into the whole murder, torture, mass involuntary internal migration thing, right? I don't know whether he was worse than the current Iranian government, but it's not obvious he was better.

I do find it awkward to put folks like Saddam Hussein, Ruollah Khomeini, and even Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in perspective. The Iran-Iraq war definitely deserved the question "why can't they both lose?"

But still, as even the leftists at Wikipedia agree, the late Shah wasn't such a bad guy by local standards and his opponents (sprouting curiously from Communist-seeded ground to flower as Shia religious fanatics) falsely accused him of killing or torturing about a thousand times as many people as he actually did. Many people are still repeating Khomeini propaganda, Bill, so I don't blame you for being taken in.

In the eyes of Khomeini and his followers, the Shah's true crime was trying to modernize Iran-- he sent women to school, told them to put away their veils, promoted industrialization, and-- greatest of crimes-- suggested that Islam was backwardness and ignorance and urged Iranians to secularize.

As for Hussein "starting" the Iran-Iraq war, he did indeed, and basically out of greed, but only after real provocation by Khomeini including Khomeini's call for Saddam's overthrow which inspired Shias in Iraq to murder a number of Baath leaders and bystanders (they almost killed Saddam's henchmen Tarik Aziz and Latif Nusseif al-Jasim). Khomeini's revolutionary civil war weakened Iran to the point where Hussein thought he could seize Iran's territory. If the Shah had suppressed Khomeini, Saddam Hussein would not have attacked Iran. The Khomeinites also prolonged the war for half a decade after the Iraqi invasion had been repulsed, using conscription to round up every Iranian suspected of hostility to the Khomeini regime and send them to the front to be machine-gunned. In effect, the war front became Khomeini's abattoir for his domestic opponents.

Veracitor said...

If you're gonna get legal advice from Wikipedia, you ought to at least follow its links, e.g., to the entry on the Insurrection Act. There you will learn that the (mostly 1861) version of the Act in force in 1992 nominally followed the Constitution and required a request from the State legislature (or the governor if the legislature was unavailable) to authorize Federal intervention. The California Legislature was in session during the riots and never (so far as I can discover) called for Federal assistance or even debated a resolution to that effect. The Governor's request (if it was actually made) was unlawful and void.

The stuff in the Insurrection Act about the President using Federal forces without a request from the State was enacted in 1861 specifically to authorize the Federal government to override State governments (the Southern Confederacy) which opposed Federal policy, and did not apply to the Rodney King riots because the State of California did not refuse to act against the rioters nor was there any threat to Federal interests (in law, the Federal government does not have a general "police power" and the Rodney King rioters did not attack the Federal government).

Veracitor said...

Really, saying "Bush acted under the Insurrection Act" is like saying "Obama acted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Neither President did or does care what the law actually says because neither feared anyone would hold him to the law.

(Obviously, Obama's actions are much worse than the elder Bush's were, but their respective insouciance is the same.)

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 3.43 am

A foreigner elected to office largely by foreign migrants brought in by an anti-democratic elite is violently overthrown. That's a fact pattern that should warm any American's heart.

Russians are very much natives of the eastern and southern Ukraine, and many eastern and southern Ukranians are descendants of Russians Cossacks and the like, and speak Russian as their native language.

The "Ukranians" in L'viv and K'yiv are really Rusyns and Galacians and are seperated from the east by six hundred years of history. The west and north of Ukraine was Polish and Lithuanian ruled since the mid-1300's, while the south and east was under the dominion of the Golden Horde and Ottomans and remained that way until the Cossacks revolted and sought protection from Russia.

The south and east of Ukraine was never in history ruled by K'yiv and the west until 1991.

Jerry said...

Steve Sailer: "Moreover, in the Soviet Union, the Ministry of the Interior had its own 200,000 man army that could be used to put down a military coup. So, the Interior presumably has some fairly heavy duty weapons."

--More accurately, the weapons from Lviv are a relic of the Soviet forward-deployed military posture. The occupier's big military bases and arms depots in Poland were all in the West, for obvious reasons, and it was the same in Ukraine; if war starts, or if Poland itself needs to be suppressed, the tanks are just across the border. One such place is Chirow or Khyriv. There was a huge Jesuit boarding school there. Now, it's all decrepit but still sinister military storage buildings.

Anonymous said...

One message I think we can take away is that Ukraine, as it's currently constituted, is not a nation in any historical sense.

Anonymous said...

Many more Christian groups than Amish and Mormons (and the westernmost 10 per cent of Ukraine, as the poster above at 2/24 12 PM informed me) beat general Ukrainian fertility. For the record, Nigerian Catholics, other Sub-Saharan Catholics, American and European Latin Mass Catholics, members of SSPX and Fraternity of Saint Peter parishes, American conservative sola scriptura Presbyterians, non-urban non-denominational Bible Church American Christians, Siberian Orthodox Russians, English Tory Catholics, prosperous Japanese, Thai, Han Chinese, and Korean Christians, Central American evangelicals, conservative Belgian Christians, and Jewish-American and Jewish Canadian converts to Christianity all have relatively huge fertility rates. Behold your future, my friends.

Anonymous said...

"...perhaps it will be China that ultimately benefits here."


I have no idea if this matters (though I have my suspicions), but:

"China 'to rent five per cent of Ukraine", The Telegraph, Sept 24, 2013:

"Ukraine has agreed a deal with a Chinese firm to lease five per cent of its land to feed China's burgeoning and increasingly demanding population, it has been reported. ...

...in a trend that has been compared to the 19th century "scramble for Africa", but which could now spread to the vast and fertile plains of eastern Europe.

Under the 50-year plan, China would eventually control three million hectares, an area equivalent to Belgium or Massachusetts, which represents nine per cent of Ukraine's arable land. ...

Any sort of "land-grab" deal can be highly sensitive politically."





"Hungry China wants to 'borrow' land from 'bread basket' Ukraine for 50 years", rt.com.

"...If executed, the deal Kiev-based KSG agro would make Ukraine China's biggest overseas farming center.

However, in Kiev the proposal has caught officials by surprise. ...

Ukraine lifted a ban on foreigners buying land last year."





"China to invest in 3 mln hectares of Ukrainian farmland - media", Reuters.

"...China's official Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has signed an agreement with Ukrainian agricultural firm KSG Agro... would eventually rise to 3 million hectares...

The 50-year plan was mainly aimed at growing crops and raising pigs..."





"China buys 5 percent of Ukraine's land", UPI, Sept 23, 2013.


FYI, the Ukraine has some of the (potentially) best ag land in the world. For a long time it was known as the breadbasket of Europe.

5371 said...

No, western Ukraine's fertility is not close to being above replacement. It's lower than that of whites in Ireland or Iceland.

BB753 said...

Here's my take. Either Putin told Janukovich he couldn't back him anymore or Putin has reached a secret agreement with the West whereby Russia will keep West Ukraine and Crimea in a future partition, leaving Eastern Ukraine for the EU and globalists to loot.

BB753 said...

Correction: ... Eastern Ukraine and Crimea in a future partition, leaving Western Ukraine for the EU...

Anonymous said...

@BB753

"Here's my take."

That seems the most likely option. He wanted the EU / neocons to start it and he didn't want his guy to machine gun the square and give EUSUK and USUK the benefit of public support.

All he has to do now is set up pro-Russian militia in the east and crimea and he's set with west ukraine adding another money drain to an already creaking EU.

That's what i would have done anyway so maybe reading too much into it.